Guilty But Not Guilty: What Are You Pleading Guilty to and Why It Matters

There can be few greater injustices in the world than being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Thankfully, the chances of you being falsely accused are rare, but for the unfortunate few, false accusations can lead to damaging and far-reaching consequences.

You may be forced to give up your job or have to live with the stigma of being accused even if you are innocent. This can be particularly harmful if you are accused of a serious crime.

That’s why, if you find yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit, you should take the following five steps from our Cairns criminal lawyer to protect yourself.

Commonwealth Offences Australia

1. Find A Criminal Lawyer

The first thing you must do is find an experienced criminal defence lawyer. While you may not think a lawyer is necessary due to your innocence, an experienced lawyer can help you navigate through the minefield that is the Australian legal system.

Remember, while you know you are innocent, the police do not. So you must get the right legal advice early in proceedings. A good criminal defence lawyer can liaise with the police on your behalf and ensure all investigations are carried out in accordance with the law.

2. Be Careful What You Say

You may feel that because you are innocent the Australian legal system will prevail and you’ll be acquitted in court. But this is a naive way of thinking. Civil Liberties Australia estimates that around 7% of convicted murderers and rapists are actually innocent. 

Be mindful that being accused of a crime you didn’t commit is a stressful situation that can lead to you making statements or committing actions that make you look guilty. In this scenario, the accused can often be their own worst enemy.

So be careful what you say and don’t give your accusers any ammunition to build a case against you. That means staying away from the accuser and not making any statements either in person or through social media.

3. Prepare Your Defence

While the onus on the police to investigate and evidence-gather in a bid to prosecute you it is wise to start preparing your defence early. The effects of the passage of time upon one’s memory or the loss of critical evidence are notorious barriers to defending a case. 

It helps to prepare a detailed description of what you recall of the alleged events. Sit down in a quiet room and think carefully about where you were and what you did on the day the accusations took place. This will help your criminal lawyers formulate your defence and it can also be used to contact potential witnesses to support your claim. The more detailed this document is the better, so don’t leave anything out no matter how trivial it may seem.

You should also start by gathering what evidence you can to support your claim of innocence. You can provide your lawyer with a list of names of witnesses who may be able to support your defence.

You should also hand over any evidence which undermines your accuser's claim. This includes emails, clothing and photographs. But whatever you do, NEVER destroy evidence, this can make you look guilty even if you are not.

4. Be On Your Best Behaviour

Once you have been charged with an offence you can expect to be under a particular scrutiny until your matters finalise one way or the other. 

Naturally, you should do all that you can to avoid any further interactions with the police by abiding by the laws and conditions of any bail undertaking. Any breach of a condition on a bail undertaking or the commission of a further offence can result in you being remanded in custody until your matters finalise or you are able to make an application for bail.

Remaining in the community while your charges progress through the courts can be critical to preparing your defence as there are obvious challenges when mounting a defence from jail. 

5. Listen To Your Legal Team

Navigating the Australian legal system can be both challenging and stressful. That’s why you need an experienced team of Cairns lawyers who know how the system works. This will ensure you get the right legal advice at the right time. 

But this is only relevant if you follow their advice. So listen to their direction and follow their instruction carefully. Following their advice will greatly increase the chances of there being a successful outcome in your case. 

Have You Been Accused And Need Help?

If you have been accused of a crime you didn’t commit you to need to engage with an experienced legal team as soon as possible. Mansia Bovey & Co are experienced criminal defence lawyers in Cairns.

We can help you to formulate your defence, gather witness statements on your behalf and provide the support you need during this stressful time. So get in touch today by completing our contact form or call us on 07 4035 8300. For urgent 24/7 representation, call us on 0418 773 738.