Innocent or guilty? Don’t go it alone

How many innocent people are convicted of crimes each year in the U.S.? According to this article from CNN, since 1989 more than 2,000 Americans have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit.

When a miscarriage of justice occurs, the results prove devastating to the victim, the victim’s family, and his or her reputation.

Even if the falsely accused is later exonerated, often the effort to expunge a criminal record languishes due to the expensive proposition it often turns out to be. How does this happen in the U.S.? Sometimes victims of a miscarriage of justice do not even know they still have a conviction on their record until years later when they decide to buy a gun for protection. Discovering the presence of a false criminal record often has a devastating impact on a innocent person.

The one bright spot in all this is DNA evidence, which continues to exonerate those falsely accused. According to this New York Times article,¬†Vincent Moto, a resident of Philadelphia,¬†spent a decade behind bars accused of accosting a woman, raping and attacking her. To Moto’s relief, DNA testing did not tie him to the alleged crime, and he was freed in 1996 when his conviction was vacated.

The importance of retaining a competent attorney when one faces criminal charges can not be underestimated. Being falsely accused of a serious crime is a life-altering event equivalent to suffering a horrific injury in an automobile accident. When the ambulance arrives to carry away an injured crash victim, relatives and friends pull together to raise funds for medical care. It’s no different when a person’s personal freedom is in jeopardy.

Be prepared. These things can happen to you. If you are ever falsely accused of a crime, expect your friends and family will need to raise a significant amount of money to defend you. And if you don’t already have a relationship with an attorney who has expertise in legal defense, line up a lawyer now. Be prepared to fight for your freedom, no matter what the cost.