We have people tell us all the time “I have never been in trouble before” when they are explaining the day of their unforgettable arrest. Somehow, a law abiding citizen, a person that has never faced a wrongful accusation believes that there are criminals and there are good people. The law abiding citizen lives comfortably knowing that he is one of the good ones.; That is until he is wrongfully charged with a crime. Then the perception of the criminal world to this person changes forever, and becomes more accurate. The truth, this wrongfully charged person learns, is that there is a tiny fine little line between those that we deem criminal and those that we deem not so. Many people, perhaps even a majority of people, have broken the criminal code of Texas at some point. Perhaps it was driving home under the influence, racing a guy on the highway, having a pill without a prescription. The point is, when a person that has been law abiding for 99% of his life gets arrested, it feels unfair, and it feels wrong. But, this article is not about the feeling of being wrongfully charged with a crime as much as it is about actually being wrongfully accused.
Some examples of wrongful accusations we have seen come across at our Firm include:
- A young woman was wrongfully charged with Driving While Intoxicated in San Antonio. Her breath result was a .089, while .08 is the legal limit. The breathalyzer result had been slightly inaccurate. We got the case acquitted.
- A young man was wrongfully accused of evading detention, for running from police, but the police did not have any proper reason to stop and talk to him the first place. Thus he had a right to run wherever he pleased. A jury agreed, and he was acquitted.
- A man was unjustly charged with Assault Family Violence by Impeding Breath, but the man never assaulted or choked the accuser. We got the case acquitted.
- A woman was charged with nuisance, because a victim claimed her pit bulls had attacked her. The dogs were safely in the garage when the bite occurred. We got the cases dismissed.
These are four examples of people who were wrongfully accused, and were eventually exonerated. Yet, the accusation itself still took a severe toll on each person. When a person is wrongfully accused, the accusation itself is innately destructive, not only of one’s stress level, but of all aspects of life. After all, it is easy to call the police and accuse another of crime. Once that accusation enters the justice system, the steps to get rid of the unfair situation are many. One must hire lawyer, miss work, explain the situation to family and friends sometimes, and deal with the pending matter for months and even years.
Guide on What to Do if You Were Wrongfully Accused of a Crime in San Antonio
You must preserve your case to prove that the accusation was unjust. In order to preserve any defense, you really do need a criminal defense lawyer. In most cases, I would not recommend that you hire a lawyer that does civil work more often than criminal work. You will want an attorney that has worked criminal cases through to the end of a jury trial, and understands from an evidence perspective how best to defend you. The lawyer will guide you on preserving your defense. You might ask, why do I need to preserve my defense when I am presumed to be innocent and am not obligated to prove my innocence. While the law is that you do not have to prove you are innocent, the truth is that when you can prove you are innocent, you are more likely to win. Your criminal defense lawyer will tell you that you should not discuss your case with others, as you can unintentionally create witnesses for the state to use against you later. Your lawyer will think of any documentation from the incident like surveillance or records that he can subpoena to help win your case. Time is of the essence when preserving a criminal defense case. You must act fast. In other words if you were wrongfully accused of a crime, you will need to go through the system just like the other “rightfully” accused people.
The best primary resource on statistics regarding wrongful accusations is the innocence project. This is a group of noble legal minds that set out regularly to debunk the wrongfully convicted. Among the reasons for wrongful accusations are:
- False Identifications (Sally identifies Greg as the Robber when it was actually the similar looking Bob);
- Bad Forensic Evidence (blood work done improperly, leads to a DNA “match” of an innocent guy);
- False Confessions (Joe admits to stabbing Larry because he was coerced by police, and just wanted to go home, but did not actually stab Larry);
- Government Misconduct (police plant evidence on the criminal or prosecutors tamper with evidence to prove case); and
- Bad Lawyering (lawyer does not properly defend case).
If you were wrongfully accused of a crime in San Antonio, the Cook & Cook Law Firm would love to help you (210) 271-2800. Our criminal defense team uses the most recent sources of courtroom technology to persuasively defend our clients. See more of our results here.