There are plenty of nightmarish instances you can imagine, but being falsely accused of murder is an entirely different monster. The Innocence Project has already helped 208 individuals overturn their convictions, while another 362 were found innocent thanks to new forensic evidence.
It happens to more people than you might think, and there are courses of action you can take. Before you let the stress of the situation overwhelm you, here’s what you can do to help turn the tide and prove your innocence.
Step 1: Hire an Attorney
When the charge is murder, you need an attorney by your side. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can represent yourself or that hiring a lawyer might make you look guilty. It takes a legal professional to help prove anyone’s innocence in a false claim.
Anyone who has overturned their conviction will tell you that you cannot trust the justice system. The prosecution’s job is to find you guilty of the crime, which means you’ll need legal representation to prove otherwise. Going toe to toe with a seasoned lawyer is never advisable.
Step 2: Zip It
Even before hiring your lawyer, you should never say anything about the accusation. It might be tempting to proclaim your innocence or explain yourself during an interrogation, but murder defense attorneys at Stein & Markus say you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Your memory and actions are fallible, meaning you might misremember details or remember actions you took later on. Remember, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You don’t want to accidentally incriminate yourself by saying the wrong thing.
Step 3: Ask for Search Warrants
A DNA test or search of your home can be all it takes to prove your innocence. However, you might e surprised at how often evidence is planted. Even seemingly harmless pieces of evidence can convince a jury that you’re guilty when the prosecution spins them right.
You are allowed to reject any requests for search warrants as well as DNA tests if the officers present do not have a warrant. Furthermore, you should ensure that every warrant is signed by a judge. Several false murder accusations lack the grounds for these intrusive practices, which could work to your benefit.
Step 4: Gather Your Witnesses
The better your alibi, the less likely you are to be wrongfully charged. If you were with anyone on the day or night in question, have your attorney ask them to be witnesses in your trial. Sometimes, all it takes is proving you were simply somewhere else.
Step 5: Stay Away from the Accuser
Whatever you do, never try to confront or explain your innocence to the other party involved. The risks outweigh the chance of working things out. Any conversation you have can be used against you or even seen as a threat in court.
It’s vital that you keep to yourself during this time. While it isn’t easy, it’s one of the best ways to protect yourself. Your charges are grand, and now is not the time to solve the problem on your own. Allow you attorney to handle the case and go through the legal process, proving your innocence once and for all.