The short answer to the question of whether you need a criminal defense lawyer if you are innocent is “yes.” Being innocent does not mean you will be acquitted of your criminal charges. There are many innocent people convicted for crimes each year.

The presumption of innocence is the foundation of our criminal justice system. The prosecutor must prove that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to convict them of a crime. 

Everyone has certain civil rights, including the right against self-incrimination, due process, and double jeopardy. However, that does not mean that law enforcement officers and prosecutors always follow the law. 

A law enforcement officer or prosecutor convinced of your guilt may violate your civil rights to obtain a conviction. In that case, you need a criminal defense lawyer to protect your civil rights and fight to ensure that you receive a fair and unbiased trial.

The Truth Does Not Always Come Out In Court

You may assume that if you are innocent, the truth will come out in court, and you will be acquitted of all criminal charges. But, unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

A skilled prosecutor may use circumstantial evidence to convince a jury that you committed the crime. If you do not present a strong defense to the criminal charges, you could find yourself serving time for a crime you did not commit. 

Reasons an Innocent Person Needs a Criminal Defense Attorney 

Do not rely on your innocence to keep you out of jail if you are accused of a crime. The criminal justice system is far from perfect. Mistakes can result in guilty verdicts for innocent people. 

Situations that could result in a guilty verdict even though you are innocent include:

False Allegations

A victim might allege that you are guilty of a sex crime or domestic violence. Unfortunately, a person may falsely accuse someone of a crime when they are angry or jealous. False allegations of assault are often used to obtain a restraining order.

A spouse or parent may use false allegations of abuse to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody case.

A person may give the police information about another person to get a better plea deal or to avoid an arrest. However, informants may not always be honest.

Mistaken Identity

An eyewitness or victim may identify the wrong person in a lineup. The result is that an innocent person is accused of theft or a drug crime

Being a victim of a crime or witnessing a crime can be a traumatic event. The person may be in shock and may panic. The person may genuinely believe they remember what the person looks like, but their memory could be impaired because of fear and trauma. 

A police officer may also make mistakes. If you have the same name as another person or look similar to a wanted person, the police may arrest you. If they believe they have the person who committed the crime, they may stop searching for the correct person — even though you proclaim your innocence. 

Police Misconduct and Mistakes During an Investigation 

A police officer could plant evidence or falsify information to justify an arrest. Police officers may ignore evidence that could be used to argue the person could not have committed the crime. If an officer believes they have the guilty party, the officer may stop investigating the case. 

There could also be mistakes made during the investigation. For example, evidence samples may be contaminated in a drug case, or the forensic tests may be flawed. There could be issues regarding unlawful searches and seizures that result in illegally obtained evidence. 

The Bottom Line

Being arrested is scary. You may feel the need to explain that you are innocent. However, talking to the police could make matters worse. 

You need a criminal defense lawyer regardless of whether or not you committed the alleged crime. You have the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. It is in your best interest to exercise both of these rights if you are arrested for a crime in Dallas or Plano.

A criminal lawyer investigates the circumstances leading up to your arrest. The attorney analyzes whether your civil rights were violated. The lawyer also searches for evidence that proves you did not commit the crime.

A criminal attorney develops a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of beating the criminal charges against you. If you did commit the crime, an attorney could help you negotiate a plea deal that may avoid the harshest penalties for a criminal charge.