When someone makes false accusations against you that could lead to criminal charges, you must prepare to defend yourself. The first step you should take is contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. By contacting the lawyers in Charlotte at Randall & Stump, PLLC, you can obtain an objective opinion regarding the potential course of these allegations. It may be that having a defense attorney represent you during an investigation prevents a detective from pursuing criminal charges, which would certainly be our goal. If you have already been arrested or charged with a crime, we will thoroughly investigate and analyze the best defense options, given the facts of your case.
Being falsely accused of a crime is a frightening experience. You may be worried that someone else’s mistake or lies will send you to prison. It is our job to fight for you and prevent that from happening. Our criminal defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC have decades of experience helping individuals prove they have been wrongly accused and exonerating themselves in court.
To discuss how we can help you in Mecklenburg County, call us at (980) 237-4579 or submit your information through our online contact form. We offer free, confidential consultations in Charlotte and surrounding areas.
Our Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight False Accusations
When facing serious accusations of wrongdoing, you need to be prepared to be honest with your defense attorney. A lawyer cannot properly prepare your case and effectively defend you without all of the information – even facts that might make you look bad. We want to know what happened to lead to this situation. Are the allegations entirely wrong? For instance, a false accusation of theft may be based on a real theft, however, you may not be the culprit. Or, are these accusations an exaggeration of what really happened? For instance, maybe you and your significant other had an argument that involved yelling, throwing things, and slamming doors, but now that person claims you assaulted them.
We also need to know if you are part of any other dispute with your accuser. Are you going through a divorce, paternity contest, or child custody or support battle? Is your accuser a previous dating or sexual partner from a relationship that ended badly? Is your accuser on another side of a family feud?
When you have been falsely accused of a crime by the police or another individual, we are here to help. Schedule a time to talk with us. Give us all of the information you can think of, answer our questions honestly, and we will do our best to win your case. Contact us at 980-237-4579.
How to Defend Yourself Against False Accusations
When you face serious accusations that amount to a crime, you should not try to defend yourself. Many people make the mistake of trying to argue with the police. However, when dealing with the police, you must be exceptionally careful about what you say or do. Everything can be recorded, written down, and will be used against you later, either when deciding to file charges or in court after you have been charged. You should have a criminal defense attorney who will represent you in working with the police during an investigation to the extent that it is helpful and not harmful to you. The best thing to do is tell the police, unambiguously, that you will remain silent until you have an attorney present.
The next step in defending yourself against false allegations is having a defense attorney conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Your lawyer will thoroughly review the accusations against you and search for evidence that may support or refute criminal charges. This step is essential. At this point, the police or a prosecutor may claim they have a slam dunk case against you. Your attorney may find that the prosecution has little-to-no evidence against you. This can give your attorney leverage in asking for the charges to be reduced or dismissed.
During their investigation, your lawyer will also gather evidence of your innocence or a reason why you should not be held criminally responsible. For instance, you may have a strong alibi. The police may believe you participated in a robbery or shoplifting, yet you have receipts to show you were at dinner and the movies with friends. Or, you may have witnesses to the incident who can testify and support your innocence. Additionally, you may have acted in self-defense if you reasonably believed you were in danger.
Potential Legal Recourse for False Accusations
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we are often asked “Can I sue for being falsely accused?” Our answer is: maybe. If you were intentionally and falsely accused of a crime, you may have legal recourse against your accuser in the form of a civil defamation (libel or slander) or malicious prosecution lawsuit.
If another person intentionally accused you of a crime that they knew you did not commit in order for you to be prosecuted for that crime, then you may be able to sue that person for malicious prosecution in civil court. You must be able to prove:
- The defendant instituted or participated in the criminal proceedings against you,
- Without probable cause,
- With malice, and
- The criminal proceedings were resolved in your favor (a dismissal or acquittal).
You must also be able to show that you were damaged in some way by the proceedings. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, we can show that you were damaged through injury to your reputation, emotional suffering from any time of incarceration, loss of wages or your job, and economic losses due to attorney’s fees and court costs. We will strive to prove each of these elements so that you may obtain compensation from your accuser.
Another method of suing someone for false accusations is filing a civil defamation suit. Within defamation is libel and slander. Libel involves when someone makes a written false statement against you. For example, the false allegations may have been published on Facebook or another social media platform. Slander involves the spoken word, which would encompass your accuser calling or making a false report to the police.
Under North Carolina’s defamation law, you can sue someone if they:
- Intentionally or negligently made a false statement,
- Against you, which
- Was published to a third party, and
- You suffered an injury.
To win a defamation suit, you must be able to prove that the statements against you are false. If the charges against you were dismissed or you were acquitted by a judge or jury, then this is evidence that can assist in proving the statements were false.
In many defamation cases, you need to prove that the false statements caused you a material (financial) loss in addition to damaging your reputation. If you were charged with a crime and had to pay for attorney’s fees and suffered lost wages, then we can clearly show monetary damages. However, you may not need to prove harm when the other person accuses you of a crime. The court views this as bad enough that you do not need to show what the harm was.