Criminal accusations are scary—even more so if you didn’t actually commit the crime. Wrongful convictions can lead to serious consequences, impacting your freedom, your job, and more.
If you were wrongly accused, you might consider doing nothing; you didn’t commit the crime, after all. However, without proper action, the court could convict you—even if you did nothing wrong.
If you are wrongly accused in Florida, then it’s important to know what steps to take to protect yourself. Understand your rights, do research, and consider contacting a lawyer to defend you.
What Is a False Accusation?
False accusations are claims that you committed an illegal act that you did not actually commit. For example, say someone told a police officer that they saw you stealing something from someone else’s house. If they gave incorrect information, then they made a false accusation. This accusation could damage your reputation and lead to fines or imprisonment or other consequences.
To prove someone falsely accused you, in that scenario, the prosecution will have to prove the accuser knowingly gave fraudulent information to a member of law enforcement. In addition, they will need to prove that you didn’t commit the crime.
False accusations are serious offenses and come with severe penalties. Under Florida Statute Section 817.49, the penalty for a first offense in Florida can be up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine; a second offense penalty can be up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. These penalties won’t always stop someone from making false accusations. That said, it does mean that you can work with an attorney to pursue legal action.
Take Steps to Protect Yourself
It’s important not to panic if you’ve been wrongfully imprisoned because of false accusations. There are methods you utilize to protect yourself if you’ve been wrongly accused in Florida. Consider your options and try to proceed with a clear head.
You have the right to remain silent, and it’s important to utilize that right. Even if you’re innocent, anything you tell law enforcement could potentially work against you. While you should cooperate with law enforcement whenever possible, you are not required to tell them anything.
Wait until you’ve had a chance to speak with a lawyer. An attorney will understand what could hurt you and what might not. They can provide you with advice on what to say and do.
It’s important to know your rights and how the legal justice system works. If you have the opportunity, do some research to better understand the law. This can help you better prepare yourself for your case.
Find a Lawyer
Finding a defense attorney can help you protect yourself. Your attorney can help by:
- Speaking to witnesses
- Gathering evidence
- Explaining your rights and options
- Creating a case that seeks to prove your innocence
Consider Filing a Civil Suit
A wrongful conviction can mean years behind bars, a destroyed reputation, and extensive fines. These consequences can cause significant harm.
Filing a civil suit is one way to try and recoup your losses. This suit could potentially help cover damages that the false accusation causes—though you’ll want to consider speaking to a lawyer beforehand to determine the strength of your case.
Contact Michael White, P.A., If You Are Wrongly Accused in Florida
Being wrongly accused in Florida can be a scary prospect. Many consequences can arise from even a simple accusation.
If you’re facing a wrongful accusation, then reach out to criminal defense attorney Michael White, P.A. He can assess your case and help you determine how to proceed. Call 954-270-0769 to request a free consultation.