What To Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Accused of a Crime in Missouri

Though it may seem like something that only happens in the movies, being falsely accused of a crime is a real-world problem. If you’ve been falsely accused of a crime in Missouri, you know just how much of a nightmare it is. Despite feeling like you’ve just woken up in the Twilight Zone, there are some critical steps that you must take if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime.

If you’re facing charges for a crime you didn’t commit, contact Missouri Legal as soon as possible. We are here to help you. 

In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about what you can do if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime and what not to do. 

Contact An Attorney

man holding smartphone

This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating, contact an attorney if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime in Missouri. Unfortunately, since many people who are facing false accusations know that they didn’t commit the crime, they have a tendency to not take the charges seriously. Don’t be that person! Often when another person accuses you of a crime the charges are serious and can include charges such as domestic violence, abuse, bullying, harassment, etc. 

If you don’t have a strong defense, the likelihood of you being charged with a false crime is much higher. So even though you will end up paying court and attorney fees, it will be worth it in the end to avoid serving time for a crime you did not commit. 

Furthermore, hiring an attorney before the charges are even placed will help you with how you should handle the potential charges and what the best course of action is for both charges filed or soon to be filed. 

Do Not Contact Your Accuser

Since the accuser is usually someone you know, you might feel the urge to contact him or her to clear the air, get them to drop the charges, talk through the issue, etc. However, this is one of the worst things you can do for your case. As this article points out, these conversations can be used to give more fuel to the prosecution. 

Give yourself the best chance of defense, by avoiding talking to your accuser about anything while the charges are being actively filed (most attorneys will recommend avoiding them afterward as well, to avoid future issues). Additionally, it’s probably a good idea to not discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney. Remember everything you say and do can be used against you if it pertains to your case. 

Gather Evidence

black and white evidence
Crime scene investigation – collecting evidence

Anything that you have that would be considered evidence you need to gather and organize and give to your Missouri criminal defense attorney. This could include things like:

  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Clothing
  • Emails
  • Journals
  • Receipts
  • GPS data
  • Voicemails
  • Text Messages

Any information that you can provide to your attorney concerning the alleged crime, the better. Along with physical evidence and documents, it’s a good idea to get witnesses for your defense. Anyone you know who can provide you with useful information to strengthen your case should be considered. Talk with your attorney if you’re unsure who and what to ask of people that may help you. 

Big No-Nos

Now that you know to get a lawyer and gather evidence and not to contact your accuser for anything, there are some big “no-nos” to avoid if you are being falsely accused of a crime in Missouri. As this article, originally from NOLO, explains, the following should never be done if you’re facing false allegations:

  • Destroy evidence that you think could hurt you. Whether or not the evidence would be harmful, this may cast you in a suspicious light and can lead to more criminal charges.
  • Try to talk to the victim about the case or have any contact with the victim or witnesses.
  • Talk to law enforcement or other investigators without an attorney present, or
  • Voluntarily submit to any testing, such as DNA tests; or give any evidence to law enforcement without consulting with a lawyer first – even if you believe the evidence will show you are not a guilty party.

Call Missouri Legal today if you have been falsely accused of a crime in Missouri. We provide free legal consultations to help you determine what is the best next right step for you.