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Sometimes police arrest the wrong person, or an innocent defendant gets convicted in court.It’s hard to imagine that happening to you, but anybody could be charged with a bogus crime.
Steven and Michelle Gesse, a couple in Colorado, experienced that horror in 2009 when Steven was arrested after a neighbour’s son reportedly told police Steven threatened him with a gun.
Steven Gesse was ultimately found not guilty but “being exonerated did not make up for the fact that he had been treated like a convicted felon,” Dottie DeHart, the couple’s spokeswoman, said in an email to Business Insider.
After their ordeal, the Gesses published a book with tips you should remember if you find yourself falsely accused of a crime.
Here is some of the best advice you should follow if you’re ever arrested for a crime you didn’t commit:
- Insist the cops get a search warrant. You might worry that will make you seem guilty, but it’s the best way to ensure cops play by the rules.
- If you get into a fight with someone, be the first to call 911. Often, according to the Gesses, the person who calls 911 first will generally be regarded as the victim.
- Always remember you have the right to remain silent.
- If you maintain your innocence and insist on a trial, be ready to pay for it. The whole process could cost you thousands.
- Make sure you get a lawyer. That doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty. It means you’re being smart. “In my opinion, the innocent need legal help even more than the guilty,” Michelle Gesse said in a statement. If you’re going to get a lawyer, spend the money to get a good one. It will help in the long run.
- It might sound silly, but every family should have an “arrest plan” in place. Make sure you know your rights, and discuss in detail how you should react if you get an unexpected call from the police.