You’ve been arrested and charged with a crime you didn’t commit. Now what?
It is estimated that between 2.3 and 5% of all prisoners in the United States are wrongfully convicted. That means that out of the 2.2 million people currently incarcerated, as many as 110,000 innocent people are behind bars.
What you need to do
If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are a few things you can do to try and clear your name and get out of jail.
Find a lawyer
The first thing to do is to find a good lawyer. This is probably the most important thing you can do. A good lawyer will know how to investigate the charges against you, find witnesses and evidence that may help your case, and cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be assigned a public defender. If you are not eligible for a public defender, you can still represent yourself in court. However, this is not recommended as it can be challenging to navigate the legal system without professional help.
Bail yourself out
The next step is to bail yourself out of jail or wait for your bail hearing. If you cannot afford bail, a bail bondsman may be able to help.
A bail bondsman is a professional who helps people post bail. Bail is the money that a court requires a criminal defendant to pay to be released from custody pending trial. The bail amount is typically set by a judge based on the severity of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and whether they are considered a flight risk.
Bail bondsmen typically charge 10% of the bail amount and require collateral, such as your home or car. In some cases, they may also need a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who agrees to pay the bail bond if the defendant does not show up for their court date.
If you cannot post bail, a bail bondsman may be able to help. Bail bondsmen typically have 24-hour hotlines that you can call to get help posting bail. They will usually require some information from you, such as the defendant's name and the amount of bail, before they agree to help.
It is important to note that bail bonding is a regulated industry, and there are rules that bail bondsmen must follow. Make sure you understand the terms of your agreement before signing anything.
Prepare to defend yourself.
Once you are out of jail, it is crucial to prepare your defense. Gather any evidence that can prove your innocence and start building your case. If you have questions or need help, consider talking to a lawyer.
You can do a few things to gather evidence that may help your case. First, you should talk to witnesses who may have seen what happened. Get their contact information so your lawyer can get in touch with them. Second, you should collect any physical evidence relevant to your case. This could include CCTV footage, photos, or anything else that could help prove your innocence. Finally, you should write down everything you remember about what happened. This can be helpful for your lawyer when they are preparing your defense.
What to look for in a defense lawyer
When looking for a lawyer to defend you against false charges, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to find a lawyer who has experience with the type of crime you have been charged with. If the lawyer has never handled a case like yours before, they may not know how to defend you effectively.
Second, you want to find a lawyer familiar with the court system in your area. Different courts have different procedures and rules, so it is crucial to find a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the court you will appear in.
Third, you want to find a lawyer you feel comfortable working with. This is important because you will be sharing a lot of personal information with your lawyer, and you need to trust that they will keep your information confidential.
Fourth, price should not be the only factor you consider when hiring a lawyer. While you may be tempted to choose the cheapest option, this is not always the best idea. Remember, you are hiring a professional to help you with a severe matter, so it is crucial to find a lawyer who you feel confident will do a good job.
If you are ever arrested for a crime you did not commit, it is essential to know your rights and what to do to protect yourself. This includes knowing how to post bail and how to find a good defense lawyer. With the help of a lawyer, you can fight the charges and clear your name.