How to Prove Your Innocence
It can be scary and overwhelming if you are charged with a crime. This is especially true if you know you are innocent.
Criminal charges can occur for many reasons, which include being falsely accused, being set up, and more. However, just because you know you are innocent does not mean it will be easy to convince the criminal justice system of this.
Keep in mind that in the United States, it is up to the prosecution to prove you are guilty, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” not for you to prove your innocence.
Even though this is the case, you still have work to do. While you may be innocent, being able to avoid a conviction is challenging and you should be prepared to fight. One of the first steps you should take in this situation is to hire a reputable criminal defense lawyer. With the help of an attorney, you will have a better chance of showing that you are innocent of the alleged crime you were charged with.
What to Do When You are Arrested for a Crime
Being arrested can be a scary and overwhelming situation. This is especially true if you know you are innocent of the crime you are accused of.
You do not need proof that you are innocent; however, you may have to go to court to fight the charges against you. If you have been falsely accused of any crime, there are a few things you should remember, which include the following:
Never Resist Arrest
When the police arrest you, you should not resist. You will get your day in court since this is your Constitutional right. However, if you try to argue about being arrested or explain yourself out of the situation, it can lead to additional criminal charges.
While you may feel frightened, you should try to stay calm. Listen to what the authorities are telling you and cooperate with their requests. Remain respectful and polite. It is also best to remain silent and don’t talk to the police in this situation. Anything you say can be used against you; but if you remain silent, the police will not get additional evidence to use against you.
Request to Talk to an Attorney
You should not ask the officer if they think you need an attorney. This is not the same thing as exercising your right to legal counsel. Instead, you need to make sure that you clearly state that you want the services of an attorney. You should also clarify that you do not plan to answer any questions until your attorney is present.
Never Attempt to Tell Your Side of the Story
If you have been falsely accused of a crime and know you are innocent, you may want to tell the police. However, this is not a good idea. If the police are under the impression that they have the right person, nothing you say to them will help. In fact, it may harm your case down the road.
As mentioned above, it is best to remain silent. This will ensure that you don’t say anything that may be used against you.
Your Rights when Charged with a Crime
After an allegation of a crime is made, according to the law, you will be presumed innocent. As the first stages of an investigation move forward, it is important to ensure that this is something the prosecuting attorney keeps in mind. This can prove challenging, so it is recommended that you hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being arrested.
You have other legal rights at this point, too, which include the following:
The Right to a Fair Trial
The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution confirms your security and safety and how the steps will be taken by the government, attorney, witnesses, and others involved. You will be able to go to trial and can present your side of the story. This is a right that is guaranteed by the U.S. legal system.
Release on Bail
If you are released on bail (which is not guaranteed), your privacy nor daily routine is affected. You can go to meetings and communicate with your attorney as needed. This is recommended as you need to begin establishing the attorney-client relationship (see: do I need a bail bondsman?).
You need to communicate with your attorney right away. The information they provide and that you provide them is invaluable to building a defense for the charges you face.
Make Sure You are Truly Innocent
Before you build a criminal defense based on your innocence, you must ensure you are truly innocent. In Michigan, there are all types of laws in place. There is a good chance you don’t know them all. Since this can be confusing, working with a criminal defense attorney is recommended.
It is Not Always Necessary for You to Prove Your Innocence
You do not always have to prove your innocence to avoid being convicted of a crime. While this is an option, the goal is to keep the prosecuting attorney from proving you are guilty of the criminal charges you are facing.
Sometimes, your criminal defense lawyer will be able to “poke holes” or expose flaws in the prosecution’s case rather than building a defense around your innocence. This is the best option in many situations, especially if your case will go to jury trials.
How to Prove Your Innocence
It is important to note that innocent people can be convicted of a crime. With the help of your criminal defense attorney, it is up to you to prove your innocence or at least show why the prosecution’s evidence does not prove your guilt. Read: 5 Stories of People Falsely Accused of Sex Crimes.
The U.S. criminal justice system states that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. While this is true, it is still challenging to show that the crime you are accused of did not happen.
Some of the types of evidence that can be used in your case include the following:
There are two ways that witness testimony can be used to prove innocence. First, if another person committed the crime you were accused of, a witness can testify on your behalf to state that someone else is to blame.
Additionally, it is possible to have alibi witnesses who can testify that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred. In this case, anyone you were with, including a family member, can help prove your innocence.
Your phone records may also be used to help prove your innocence. For example, if GPS data is available from your phone, it can show you were not at the scene when a crime occurred. Also, call and text records can be used to establish your alibi. Learn if it is legal to record phone calls here.
If you are charged with a crime involving your phone, your phone records can show you were not using the device when the alleged crime occurred.
Bank Accounts, Employment, and Other Evidence
Your bank account, employment, and other records may serve as evidence that helps prove innocence in your case, too. It can help establish an alibi (i.e., you were working) or show that you did not engage in some type of illegal activity. There are several types of records that you can use to show your innocence. Your defense attorney will know what records can be valuable in your case, and that will show that the crime that occurred was not because of you.
Footage from Surveillance Cameras
Footage from surveillance cameras can be just as beneficial as testimony from witnesses. If the footage shows that someone else committed the crime, you may be acquitted. Also, if footage from a camera shows you were somewhere else when the crime you are charged with occurred, you can request that your attorney use it to provide you with an alibi.
Phone Videos or Photos
Today, most people always have their phones with them. Due to this, there may be videos or photos of you doing something besides committing the crime you were charged with. Your attorney may be able to have these photos or videos admitted as evidence to help create reasonable doubt that you are guilty.
Your attorney will help when it is time to gather evidence. There is a good chance they will know of evidence you never even thought of. Remember, the goal of your evidence is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge or jury. As a criminal defendant, you need enough evidence to show that if a crime occurred, you did not commit it.
DNA evidence is one type of evidence that may be beneficial in your case. For example, if you are accused of sexual assault, then DNA evidence from the scene may be enough to help you avoid being proven guilty.
Dealing with False Accusations
Sometimes, false accusations can result in you being charged with a crime. Unfortunately, innocent people face the harsh reality of this each day. If you don’t work to build a strong legal defense for your case, you may be wrongfully convicted of a crime you did not commit.
If you are wrongly convicted of a crime, and your attorney can appeal the decision by providing enough evidence to show your innocence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, just having the conviction expunged from your criminal record will likely be something you appreciate.
Do Not Wait to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for a crime, and you were falsely accused or know you are innocent, you can’t afford to wait to hire a criminal defense attorney. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
At Blank Law, PC, you can get the representation you need from a skilled and experienced attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights and your freedom.
The first step is to call and schedule a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation. You can reach the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling or using our online form.
When it comes to criminal charges, the potential penalties are severe. You may face significant fines, jail time, and probation, and the charge can impact your reputation in the community. This type of situation can also impact the relationships you have with your spouse and family. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker and her team at Blank Law, PC can provide you with a solid defense to help you get the best possible outcome for your situation.