Not everyone who gets charged with a crime in Massachusetts was present at the time the crime was committed. There can be any number of reasons why this happens. Sometimes witnesses or the police are given the wrong name at the time the case is reported. This can be deliberate or simply a mistake. Other times people are charged because they own some property that is connected to the crime. For instance, owners or lessees of property can be charged with drug trafficking if their home was searched and drugs were found…even if they were not home at the time of the search. Similarly, the owner of a car might be charged with a crime in which the car was involved such as leaving the scene, hit and run or operating recklessly or to endanger…even if no one saw the car owner actually driving the vehicle. Under these circumstances and others I have had clients come into my office and ask “how can I be charged with a crime if I was somewhere else at the time”. This post offers some thoughts on this issue and how to avoid getting convicted.
Do Not Talk to the Police Before First Consulting With a Criminal Defense Attorney
Lots of people think they can just call, or go down to the police station in these circumstances and tell them there weren’t there at the time the crime was committed. Don’t do this. It is a big mistake. You won’t know what evidence the police have against you until the case is under way. Yet something you say might incriminate you and help them prove their case. Lets look at the motor vehicle examples mentioned above. People often let other people use their cars. Most people I know let their spouse or children or even friends use their car. If your car was involved in a hit-and-run and no one sees you driving it then you are probably going to win a motion to dismiss. However, if you tell the police that you were driving, but were not involved then you have helped them make their case simply by unnecessarily putting yourself behind the wheel of the car. A judge or a jury will now hear that as part of the prosecutor’s case whereas had you remained silent the element of “who was the driver” would still be in dispute.
Never Talk About The Case With Anyone Except Your Lawyer
A common mistake people make when facing criminal charges is talking about the case with “friends” or co-defendants. Nothing good can come from this. Keep in mind that even after you have been charged with a crime the investigation might still be ongoing. Police and district attorneys are often aware that proving their case as initially charged may be difficult or at times impossible. So, in order to secure a conviction the investigation will continue, sometimes right up until the time of trial. The police will talk to your friends. The district attorney might try to make a deal with a co-defendant whose case is less severe than yours. Avoid any discussion about your case. You never know who is helping the prosecution. By talking to the wrong person, you might implicate yourself in a case that you would otherwise have one. This is especially true in cases where you were somewhere else at the time the crime was committed.
Our office has won dismissals and secured acquittals in countless cases where the defendant was not at the scene when the crime was committed. Let us help you. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email if you need our help.