According to the National Registry of Exonerations, the nonprofit has worked to clear more than 2,800 wrongfully convicted people since 1989. A wrongful conviction leaves a large stain on your criminal record and even forces you to spend time in prison.
Have police charged you with a crime you did not commit? Are you innocent of a crime? You may have a wrongful conviction case.
Here’s what to do if you’re facing a wrongful conviction.
Get a Lawyer for a Wrongful Conviction Case
The first step in working to clear a wrongful conviction case is getting a civil rights attorney. A civil rights attorney is an expert in discrimination and abuses by authorities in cases of an arrest.
If you are innocent of a crime, a wrongful conviction lawyer will use all of the tools necessary to get you cleared of a crime. They have a team dedicated to clearing these cases and a proven track record in overturning a wrongful conviction.
A good lawyer will also know where to go for resources in the case. They often have the contacts to help in overturning a wrongful conviction.
Search for Evidence
A big part of overturning a wrongful conviction is searching for evidence. You will need to contact people and search through databases. You might even need experts outside of your legal counsel to help in the case.
Perhaps your case involves DNA evidence that failed to make it into your original court case. This newly discovered evidence will clear you of a crime. You can use this evidence in overturning a wrongful conviction.
Are there new witnesses in the case? If people did not come forward in the original case, perhaps now they will testify on your behalf to prove that you are innocent of a crime.
Look for Misconduct
Misconduct is one of the biggest reasons when overturning a wrongful conviction. This could be a big advantage and could cause a domino effect in the legal process.
Did the police or the authorities mishandle the original evidence in the case? Search to find if police ‘fixed’ evidence in previous of if the officer who made your original case faces misconduct allegations. Talk with others who dealt with the same officers or process to see if there’s a case.
Was there a prosecutor in your case who lost their job for changing the facts of a case? Knowing the background of those who handled your case is worth investigating.
What to Do When Facing a Wrongful Conviction
One of the first steps when facing a wrongful conviction is hiring an attorney. You’ll also need to search for evidence in the case and look for any misconduct during your case. Doing your homework and getting good people on your side can help in overturning a wrongful conviction.
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