Anyone facing false allegations of committing a crime needs to be proactive in mounting a defense. Especially if the person being falsely accused ends up going to trial to let a jury decide their fate. The majority of the general public who actually show up in criminal court when summoned for jury duty, hold law enforcement in such high regard and seem to forget that all police officers, prosecutors, and other types of law enforcement officers are human and make mistakes.
Having questioned numerous jury panels during jury selection in Orange County criminal trials, it is eye opening to hear some of the responses potential jurors give to questions relating to their views of law enforcement. Of course there are those who have had bad experiences with police officers and divulge that information when they are questioned as a potential juror, but the majority of potential jurors feel if the defendant was arrested by a police officer, they must have done something wrong. All police officers are not equal, and some honestly seek the truth, while others do not. The police officer who is not truthful in his investigation and report writing, ends up in court facing intense cross examination by a criminal defense attorney during a jury trial, where his credibility is challenged. This is why it is so important for those who are being falsely accused to start preparing their defense as soon as possible.
Make a List of Potential Witnesses
The falsely accused needs to make a list of potential witnesses with contact information and provide the list to their criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Getting the information together in the beginning will save time later in trying to locate and track down important defense witnesses. Even if a witness relocates, an investigator would at least have a phone number or last known address to work with in locating the witness.
Make a List of Records and Documents
Depending on what the false accusation concerns, the accused also needs to make a comprehensive list of all documents and records that support the defense. Depending on the nature of the false accusation, phone records (including text messages) and email activity may be helpful in attacking the false allegations. This would require the falsely accused to put together a list of cell phone companies and email addresses that the accuser and/or falsely accused use for their cell phone and email service. This will give the defense attorney enough information to subpoena any necessary records in preparation of the defense.
If the false allegations have any relation to a family law or civil law suit, those records will also need to be obtained by the criminal attorney. The falsely accused would need to include on the list of records as much case information for the family law or civil case, including case numbers and court information for the location the case was filed in. The criminal lawyer will then be able to follow up and obtain all relevant records that may help in mounting the defense.
Prepare a Chronological Timeline of Events
Preparing a chronological timeline of events is one of the most helpful things the falsely accused can do to assist his criminal defense attorney. The list should start with the earliest date, dating back to when the falsely accused and the accuser first came into contact with each other, the nature of that relationship and/or when the relationship started to sour between them. The timeline should be comprehensive yet concise, listing the date, time (if known) and contact/description of the encounter, and name of the potential witness if its other than the accuser. This type of timeline will assist the defense attorney in viewing the “big picture”, which will help with strategizing the most compelling defense.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
As soon as the falsely accused realizes they are the subject of a criminal investigation, the most important thing to do is DON’T TALK to anyone about the alleged incident and immediately hire an attorney. By hiring an attorney, the falsely accused is insulated from having to speak to law enforcement officers and anyone else who may be trying to obtain information that could be used against the accused. The attorney can then be the voice for the falsely accused and speak to any law enforcement officers on his behalf.
If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a crime, contact the Kenney Legal Defense Corporation for help at (855) 505-5588 or fill out a contact form above.