You’ve probably followed news stories about people who are falsely accused of crimes and then later found innocent and had their charges dropped. Usually, these news stories involve capital crimes such as murder. But even if the false charges are dropped, it’s essential to remember that the wrongful allegation and conviction can cause enormous emotional, financial, and social turmoil for the falsely accused and their loved ones. And false accusations aren’t isolated incidents. Studies show that between three and five percent of capital crime convictions are wrongful. This is disturbing, but what about false criminal charges for minor crimes such as theft, drug possession, or DWI/DUI? A new study shows that the percentage of false accusations for these crimes might be even higher.
University of Pennsylvania criminologist Charles Loeffler realized that no estimate existed for the number of wrongful convictions for non-capital crimes. Taking into account convictions ranging from serious charges to minor charges, Loeffler made a study of his own with help from other researchers from The University of Pennsylvania.
In one of the first estimates of its kind for the criminal-justice population as a whole, the researchers surveyed almost 3,000 state prisoners in Pennsylvania and found that six percent of the inmates reported being wrongfully convicted, according to Penn Today.
While the researchers agree that they cannot be certain of the truthfulness of every person surveyed, they are merely trying to report an estimate of how many people might be serving significant jail time all because of a false accusation.
And false accusations can negatively impact your life even if you’re not facing jail time.
AllLaw reports that while false imprisonment is one of the most common civil claims when it comes to people suing for wrongful convictions, the other two most common claims are based on defamation of character and malicious prosecution.
Wrongful accusations such as defamation of character (also called slander) and malicious prosecution can result in negative outcomes such as loss of employment and inability to take out a loan, not to mention embarrassment and mental trauma. If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could quite easily be falsely accused of crimes such as DWI/DUI or drug possession. These convictions can stem from mistakes made by the police, inaccurate reports from witnesses, racial discrimination, and more. And a simple false conviction can throw your life out of order. But it doesn’t have to be that way. What many people don’t know is that they have the right to a criminal defense attorney who can help get charges dropped and help pursue compensation for the injustice.
Don’t become a statistic of someone who is forced to live with the consequences of a false accusation! If you or a loved one has been falsely accused of a crime in Westchester County, NY or White Plains, NY, you have options! You don’t have to battle these unfair charges alone or resign yourself to live with the consequences. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in the state of New York, call Darren DeUrso at 914.772.8614 or send us a message online for your free initial consultation.
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601