Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

What to Do if You are Wrongfully Accused

We have all seen the classic Perry Mason television programs in which a guilty person or criminal disrupts the court and tearfully confesses to the crime amidst courtroom uproar and surprise. They always wait until the last minute to confess their dark secrets, but a guilty conscience reveals the truth just in time to save the innocent person on trial.

In the real court of law, this usually never happens. Sometimes an innocent people are found guilty of crime they did not commit. A good example is the story of Betty Anne Waters, who worked faithfully and diligently to free her wrongfully convicted brother of a murder he did not commit in Ayers, Massachusetts. In fact, she became a lawyer to learn the law, and a good criminal defense lawyer is always needed in criminal cases. Her relentless efforts helped overturn his wrongful conviction in 2001. He spent 18 years behind bars as an innocent man. The story was made into a Hollywood movie called Conviction in 2010.

According to studies by the Innocence Project, between 2.3% and 5% of persons sent to prisons are innocent. DNA testing has uncovered the truth for several cases over the years. Since 1989, 333 people have been exonerated because of this new technology. What are some things a person can do if he or she is wrongfully accused of a crime before it turns into a conviction?

Here are five things experts suggest you do, if you are falsely accused of a crime:

  • Gather any records, documents, or papers that may relate to the case. This could be letters, emails, text messages, or phone records. Maintain any records that show where you were during the time of the crime or incident.

  • Make a note of evidence at the crime location that you remember but were not able to take from the scene.

  • Create a list of possible witnesses and obtain their contact information.

  • Keep quiet and do not say anything about the case with anyone. It may be used against you.

  • You should contact an experienced attorney and tell him or her your story. Conversations with an attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege.

Here are five things experts suggest you not do if you are falsely accused of a crime:

  • Do not destroy any information, especially information that you think will work against you in court. This could be perceived as actions of a guilty person and increase punishment if you are wrongfully convicted.

  • Do not talk or have any contact with the victim or victims in an attempt to explain your side of the story.

  • Do not talk with law enforcement without an attorney present.

  • Do not volunteer to take a testing, such as a DNA test.

  • Do not submit any information or evidence to law enforcement without talking to your lawyer.

A false accusation can be damaging to your personal and professional life. More importantly, if your innocence cannot be proven, it could lead to a wrongful conviction and possible prison or jail time.

If you are falsely accused of a crime, the consequences may be serious and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that can help clear your name and reputation. He can explain your rights and provide personalized legal services in your case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.