If you’ve been charged with a crime, there’s a good chance that you are innocent of all charges. Even the best prosecutors can make mistakes or rely on inaccurate evidence and charge the wrong person. Along with hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court, there are a few things you may be able to do if you’ve been wrongly charged with a crime.
Intervention Before Charges Are Filed
Particularly in minor cases, the defendant (or their lawyer) might be able to speak with the arresting or investigating officer and clear up any confusing details before the charges are filed. However, this can be difficult to accomplish before charges are filed unless you are knowledgeable about what is happening behind the scenes in the investigation.
Dismissing the Charges
Another reason why many innocent defendants hire lawyers is because a criminal defense lawyer may be able to discuss the charges with the prosecution before the case gets too far. If the charges were filed based on a simple and clear mistake, the prosecuting attorney might be willing to drop the charges. In more complex cases, a criminal defense lawyer might choose to investigate the case further and collect evidence, such as witness testimonies, proving that the charges are inaccurate.
Regardless of when a criminal defense lawyer is able to get charges dropped — either immediately after they are filed, or shortly before the case goes to trial — it’s often in the best interest of the defendant. A courtroom trial can be a very lengthy and expensive process. Not only would a dismissal of charges benefit the defendant, but it might also benefit the prosecution.
Hire a Lawyer
As an experienced criminal defense lawyer would likely attest, it can be imperative to face charges head-on if you’ve been wrongly charged. Sure, it’s possible to let the case play out and wait for the innocent verdict, but this can be both expensive and time-consuming — and there’s also the risk of ending up with a guilty verdict. If you are facing serious charges that may result in incarceration or stiff fines upon a guilty verdict, you’ll likely want to get these charges dismissed rather than running the risk of taking the case to trial. A minor traffic infraction, however, likely wouldn’t have a huge impact and therefore wouldn’t be as risky in court.
A small mistake in paperwork or in the processing of evidence can have detrimental effects on a defendant who is innocent. If you’ve been charged with a crime and you know that you are innocent, it’s still a good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. In many cases, it may be possible for a lawyer to handle the case before it goes to trial.