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What should you do if you're accused of a crime?

If you're falsely accused of a crime, you can defend yourself and take steps to make sure you aren't found guilty for a crime you didn't commit. Initially, you might have been taken by surprise when a police officer arrived to talk to you. Know that you have no legal obligation to speak to the officer or to say anything that could incriminate you; you have a right to an attorney to discuss the sex crime allegations or other accusations against you. Not talking doesn't make you look guilty, it simply means you know your rights.

The police don't technically have to read your Miranda rights until you are in custody, but you have the option of refusing to speak to them before that point. Once you know what's going on, don't try to explain yourself or defend yourself immediately. Don't talk to others about what's happening or tell others about the alleged crime; any conversation you have could be used against you if the people you talked to are subpoenaed later. Sometimes the statements you make will be inadmissible, but don't count on that to protect you.

Once you deal with the accusations against you with the help of your attorney, you may want to consider suing for defamation. When you're accused of a crime in Virginia, the accusation itself affects many parts of your life, from work to your personal relationships. A false accusation can cost you thousands of dollars as you defend yourself, so you have the right to sue the person who accused you to recoup your financial losses.

Source: FindLaw Blotter, "What Do You Do if You're Falsely Accused of a Crime," Le Trinh, Esq., accessed Sep. 20, 2016

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