Do I Need A Lawyer Even If I'm Innocent?

Do I Need A Lawyer Even If I’m Innocent?

by Feb 25, 2020

One of the unfortunate realities of the criminal justice system here in the United States is that it’s possible for people who have done nothing wrong to be charged with committing a crime. While it doesn’t happen as often as movies and television would have you believe, it does happen enough that it’s important to know what to do if it happens to you.

Why are innocent people charged with a crime? Well, the most common reasons are mistaken identity and false accusations.

Mistaken Identity: Sometimes a witness and/or crime victim will mistakenly identify the person who committed the crime. There’s a wide range of circumstances under which this might occur, and sometimes victims don’t know exactly what happened until much later.

False Accusations: False accusations are common in divorce and child custody cases. In these cases, one party will typically accuse their former spouse or partner of domestic violence and/or child abuse. The goal of making the false accusations is to damage the other’s party’s case so that a judge will rule in the accusing party’s favor.

Regardless of how or why criminal charges are brought against you, even if you are 100% innocent, you should absolutely contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Here’s why:

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Early Communication

How many local prosecutors and criminal justice professionals do you know personally? Probably zero, right? Well, a good criminal defense attorney will likely know quite a few of them and can start immediately assessing the validity of the charges against you.

In rare cases, a good defense attorney can intervene before a prosecutor files any charges. This might involve contacting the arresting or investigating officer before the case gets to the prosecution, or getting in touch with the prosecutor before the filing decision is made.

While uncommon, in less serious cases it may be possible for your attorney to explain the circumstances and prevent the case from going any further.

Case Dismissal

In most criminal cases, the prosecutor needs to actually file the charges against you before your attorney can get involved. Once that happens, your attorney has a wide range of options for how to proceed.

If the facts surrounding your innocence are easily proven and well documented, your lawyer can move to have the case dismissed. For example, if you are accused of robbing a bank, but you were on vacation in another state during the time the robbery happened, it would be relatively simple to have the charges dropped by presenting evidence of your whereabouts.

Explaining Things Is A Bad Idea

One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes made by those who are accused of a crime for which they are innocent is to try and explain the situation to the police. This is a terrible idea and almost never works as intended.

If you are taken into custody for questioning, the smartest thing you can possibly do is invoke your Miranda Rights and request an attorney. Once your attorney is present, they will confer with you and help you navigate the interrogation process.


At Quinnan Law, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 540-2356.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

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