The Police Act of 1997 defines serious crime as involving the use of violence, giving the perpetrator significant financial gain, involving a large number of people working towards the same aim or where the perpetrator is likely to receive a three-year or more prison sentence provided they are over 21 years of age and have no previous convictions. As the consequences of being convicted are so serious, it is vital that anyone falsely accused of a serious crime behave in a way that does not jeopardise their chance of being cleared. Seeking expert legal advice is the single most important thing you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
What Not To Do
- Don’t panic or act rashly – people can do things they come to regret when they panic. Rash actions can lead to those accused of a serious crime incriminating themselves unnecessarily. Being arrested or interviewed by the police can be a very frightening experience. It is therefore crucial to a solicitor present at the police station, as they can speak on your behalf.
- Don’t make light of the situation – when asked to ‘pop in for a chat’ with the police, some people fail to take it seriously. There is no such thing as ‘off the record’ when speaking to the police and every word you say will be recorded and could be used later on.
- Don’t delay seeking legal advice – it isn’t necessary to wait until you attend the police station to engage a solicitor to advise you. The earlier you can get advice, the better. A specialist criminal law solicitor can advise you on your rights and the best way to answer questions posed by the police.
- Don’t try to take matters into your own hands – when the accuser is known to the accused, it is tempting to try to contact them or witnesses involved in the case. Never do this, as the stress or upset of the situation could cause you to act in a way that damages your case. Verbally abusing or threatening people would be seen as incriminating behaviour. And don’t be tempted to attempt to alter or hide potential evidence against you. Again, this will be considered highly incriminating behaviour.
- Don’t accept a simple caution as an easy option – admitting guilt and accepting a police caution may seem like a quick way to put an end to a terrible situation. Many people feel pressured into taking this option, even if they have not committed the crime, but regret it later as it can affect future career prospects and travel options. Good legal advice can prevent you from making snap decisions you may later regret.
What You Should Do
Do seek the best possible legal advice as soon as you are accused of a serious crime or are asked to speak to the police regarding such a matter. At Edward Hayes we have an excellent track record of helping people falsely accused of committing serious crimes.
If you have been accused of committing a serious crime in the south east and need immediate advice call 0800 085 9684. If you are in another part of the country, call 0845 602 3043. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.