California has over 38 million residents that are subject to state law. The California criminal justice system is charged with prosecuting criminals and thus protecting these 38 million people; a large feat indeed. Unfortunately, in such a populous state, some people are misidentified or falsely accused for crimes, prosecuted and charged. Even more unfortunate, some people are never granted relief from this injustice and may carry with them a criminal record for a crime they didn't commit. Those who have been falsely identified or falsely accused for crimes may be able to successfully defend themselves in court if they can prove they are innocent. This can be a challenge if there is hard evidence stacked against you. If you are facing criminal charges for a crime you didn't commit, call an attorney immediately. He or she can evaluate your case facts and give you advice on how to best proceed to avoid a wrongful conviction. It is crucial you take action as soon as possible; some forms of important evidence may need to be gathered and preserved immediately.
Being falsely identified for a crime can happen for any number of reasons. A witness's faulty memory, a racial or social prejudice, or simply a wrongful accusation can put innocent people behind bars. With the advent of DNA testing, many people who had been wrongfully accused were exonerated, but many others still remain affected by a crime they didn't commit. Because there are so many reasons for false identification, it is important your first step after being identified and charged is to call an attorney. If you think that because you are innocent you do not need an attorney to argue your case, think again. Pleading not guilty is not enough; you will have to successfully defend yourself against the charges. Your defense will depend on what the crime you are being charged with and the evidence being held against you. A skilled attorney can help you mount a defense tailored to your specific case.
If you were falsely identified for a crime and were arrested but not charged, you may be eligible to have your arrest record sealed and destroyed. If you were falsely identified and arrested, and no charges were ever filed by the prosecutor, you can request the arresting agency seal and destroy the arrest record. If they will not, you can petition the court. If charges were filed but you were never convicted, either because the charges were dismissed or because you were found factually innocent, you can request the court seal and destroy records of that arrest. This is not an automatic process. You, as the defendant, must prove you were found factually innocent and give support for your petition. You may wish to have an experienced California criminal defense attorney assist you with this process. An arrest, even one that did not end in a conviction, can be seen by many entities. Unless you have the arrest record sealed and destroyed, it will remain on your record. To have the best chance at having your petition granted, speak with an attorney about the process. You should also keep in mind that most California employers are not allowed to ask you about an arrest that did not end in a conviction. If they do find out about your arrest, they cannot hold that against you when considering your employment. Governmental employers, however, are allowed to ask about an arrest that did not end in a conviction.
If it was another individual who brought the charges upon you, and if he or she did so knowing you were innocent, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against that person. If you do, and if you win, you can collect damages amounting to your economic losses related to your defense. For example, you may be able to have the person who brought on the false charges compensate you for your attorney's fees. If you were falsely identified for a crime or were framed for a crime, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney promptly. A skilled attorney will know how to identify the evidence held against you and develop a defense strategy that will prove your innocence. He or she can also assist you with sealing your arrest record if you were never convicted. Don't give up the fight; enlist the services of an experienced attorney who can help you defend your rights.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have been falsely identified for a crime, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense experience and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.