Absolutely! You need a criminal defense lawyer whenever you are being investigated or arrested for a crime. While our criminal justice system is founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” relying on that belief could result in a conviction and significant punishments.

Innocent People are Arrested and Convicted 

We want to believe that justice will prevail. If you are innocent of a crime, you should be set free. Right? Many innocent people are sitting in prison now who will tell you that is not always the case.

The criminal justice system is not perfect. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and jurors make mistakes. As a result, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit.

An innocent individual could be arrested due to:

Mistakes Made During the Investigation

In many cases, police officers and prosecutors have already made up their minds about a subject before the arrest. If there is any evidence pointing to a subject, police officers might stop investigating the case and arrest the subject. 

It does not matter that there could be other evidence that could impact the case. If police officers believe they have the person in custody, they may ignore other evidence that could “mess up” their arrest.

False Allegations 

False allegations of domestic violence are common. A jealous or angry ex-partner decides to “get back at” you by filing false domestic abuse charges. They may obtain a restraining order, and you may go to jail.

Sex offenses are another common crime that involves false allegations. A person may decide to use charges of sex crimes to punish you for dating someone else. Parents may accuse each other of drug crimes to gain an advantage in a child custody case.

Informants often give information to the police to help themselves avoid criminal charges or obtain a better plea deal. However, they may make up allegations against someone if they have nothing truthful to offer to the police. 

Mistaken Identity 

An eyewitness could pick you out of a lineup for committing theft or vandalism. The witness may not remember exactly what the person looked like, but you look close enough. Witnesses are often traumatized by a crime, making it possible for them to convince themselves you are the perpetrator. 

In some cases, you could have the same name as someone who committed assault. The police officers located you first, so you are arrested instead of the other person. Because the officers believe they have the right person, they stop searching for the actual person who committed the crime.

What Should You Do if You are Arrested for a Crime You Did Not Commit?

If you are arrested, the police officer and prosecutor believe that you are guilty. Pleading your innocence falls on deaf ears. The only goal the prosecutor has at this point is to obtain a guilty plea or a conviction.

Therefore, do not say anything to the police or the prosecutor. Do not answer questions or make a statement. The only thing you should say is that you want a lawyer.

Police officers lie. They may tell you anything to get you to talk. 

A police officer might play upon your desire to clear your name to get you to reveal information. It is not in your best interest to plead your case with the police officers or the prosecutor.

Instead, remain silent except for asking for your criminal defense lawyer. If the police officers continue to question you, do not answer the questions. You have the right to legal counsel, so do not be pressured into giving up that right.

Once you are arrested, the prosecutor will do everything to see that you are convicted. It does not matter if you are innocent or guilty. The only person that can help you know is a criminal defense attorney. 

All Criminal Charges are Serious

There is no such thing as a minor criminal charge. Some misdemeanor convictions can result in lengthy jail sentences. Regardless of the criminal charges, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you, especially if you are innocent. 

A criminal defense lawyer investigates the charges against you. The attorney analyzes every piece of evidence and pursues every lead. The prosecutor and the police officers believe you are guilty, so they have stopped investigating.

If you are innocent, you need someone to continue investigating the case to find evidence that proves you are innocent. Jurors may believe the evidence that the state presents. If you do not have evidence to refute the state’s allegations, you could be contemplating the “innocent until proven guilty” standard from behind bars.