For most people, being accused of a criminal offense is a frightening, and confusing, experience. It is often even worse if the accused is actually innocent of the crime. If you have been accused of a crime that you did not commit you are likely asking yourself a number of questions, chief among those “Do I need a lawyer to represent me if I’m innocent?” The short answer to that question is a resounding “YES!”
Without a doubt, the United States criminal justice system is among the best in the world. Founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” the criminal justice system in the U.S. affords an accused a number of important rights throughout the investigation and prosecution of a case. One of those rights is the right to counsel. People often make the mistake of thinking they do not need to exercise that right if they are innocent of the charges against them. In reality, however, an innocent defendant frequently needs an attorney even more than a guilty defendant does.
The concept of “innocent until proven guilty” places the burden on the prosecution to prove you guilty. In theory this means that an innocent person is not require to prove he/she is innocent. While this remains true, it does not mean an innocent person does not need an attorney. On the contrary, an innocent person needs an experienced criminal defense attorney for a variety of reasons, starting at the moment contact is made by law enforcement.
Although some arrests are made almost immediately after the crime is committed, (for example, driving under the influence) more serious crimes are usually investigated thoroughly before an arrest is made. If you are contacted by the police regarding an ongoing investigation you should politely decline to speak to them until you have your attorney present. Don’t assume that because you are innocent it won’t hurt – or even might help – for you to talk to the police. If they want to talk to you, they likely already believe you are involved in some way. Something you say could be misinterpreted or raise their suspicion level even more. Innocent people talk their way into becoming suspects and then defendants all the time.
Once an arrest has been made you cannot simply count on justice to prevail. In a perfect world it would be impossible for an innocent person to be convicted of a crime; however, we don’t live in a perfect world, and innocent people are convicted of serious crimes far more frequently than most people realize. Circumstantial evidence, if not explained and/or rebutted by an experienced criminal defense attorney could be enough to convict you.
The best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not convicted of a crime you did not commit is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney the moment it becomes apparent the police are even looking at you as a suspect or a “person of interest.”
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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