Many people are unaware of the likelihood of individuals being falsely convicted of crimes based on false confessions to false accusations. Among the growing trends in North Carolina is the false accusation of identity theft, which is a good example to illustrate this situation because it is extremely relevant in today’s criminal justice system. How do these false accusations occur? And why do people confess to crimes that they didn’t commit? We’ll explore these issues here, and begin by recommending that you contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney from Remington & Dixon, PLLC if you are facing any accusation, investigation, or criminal charges.
Real Criminals Avoid Being Caught and the Innocent Get Accused
One of the leading reasons that there are so many false accusations in the case of identity theft and other crimes is that the actual criminals are getting better at not getting caught, which ultimately results in innocent people being accused of the crimes carried out by others.
For instance, imagine a case where someone steals money from a store’s cash register. There are only certain people who should have access to that register. The smart criminal will attempt to steal the money from a register that they shouldn’t have access too, perhaps when security is relaxed (maybe another cashier walked away without locking it). This way, the person who steals the money can avoid becoming a suspect, since it is clear that this person did not have access (or should not have). Today, there are plenty of security cameras in stores so this type of crime may not be as easy to carry out as it once was, but it does illustrate the concept of how a criminal’s tactics can result in an innocent person being accused of a crime.
False accusations of identity theft are more relevant to modern times because that is a crime that can be conducted using technology and electronic data, and it is increasingly common for the innocent to be accused of these crimes. The use of technology and electronic data makes it very difficult to determine exactly who committed the crime, and the smart criminal would try to make it look like it was someone else – perhaps by using someone else’s computer to carry out illegal transactions with the identity theft victim’s information.
The criminal in an identity theft case may obtain the information of their victims in the files of financial institutions, like banks, or through illegally accessed government data. Sometimes, the information is found by digging through the victim’s trash or mail, or by accessing their computer or even their phone. In many cases, they can find information such as credit card details, the persons’ social security number, and even the pin numbers to go with the accounts. With a victim’s credit card information, the criminal can purchase expensive things. With their other details, they can set up new accounts. Once the thief has the information, they can use it from any other electronic device; and if they don’t want to get caught, they probably aren’t going to use their own electronic device. Rather, they will use the computer and likely the address of someone else – who often becomes a second victim of false accusation.
What Do You Do If You Are Falsely Accused of Identity Theft?
When a criminal uses you as a scapegoat for their crime, you are in a difficult position. There are also situations where someone was using the information on behalf of the alleged victim with that individual’s permission or even at their request. In such cases, the accusation is typically either mistaken or vengeful in nature.
In these situations, it is always important to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney, even if you are completely innocent of the crime. It is unfortunately common for people to think that being innocent means they have nothing to hide and can say whatever they want to say. They frequently regret the decision when something that they said in innocence is turned around to make them appear guilty. If you’ve been falsely accused of identity theft or any other crime, call Remington & Dixon, PLLC.
Why Do People Give False Confessions to Criminal Accusations
A false confession is what you have when someone who is innocent of a crime which they are accused of admits to having committed that crime, in spite of their innocence. You might be surprised at how common false confessions are. They are brought about by many factors and techniques, and they are usually believed, no matter what the defendant says at a later date. This is so common, in fact, that laws have been passed to minimize the likelihood of this occurring, and research has been conducted to prove the likelihood of a false confession when certain interrogation techniques are used.
A common example is what you likely picture in your head when you hear the words, “police interrogation:” an alleged criminal or suspect, sitting in a bare room, perhaps for a very long time, without access to the things they need and want, and being pressured to give information to the police. The longer the suspect sits in the room, the thirstier they get, the hungrier they get, the more exhausted they get, the more they have to use the bathroom, and the more uncomfortable and anxious their predicament becomes. The police then have them in a weakened position, in which they are far more likely to admit to anything they may have done wrong or provide the necessary information to crack the case.
In reality, as research has shown, the suspect is more likely to eventually say what they think the police want them to say, or admit to crimes that they haven’t committed, just to get out of the room or out of the sense that a confession will improve their situation in some way. By this time, the suspect isn’t thinking as clearly and has likely been convinced that the case against them is solid, regardless of how innocent they actually are.
Your Right to Remain Silent is Your Best Friend
You have a right to remain silent when you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, then you cannot be detained. If you are being questioned or interrogated by the police about a crime, you should contact an attorney immediately. Whether or not you have been arrested, you should not talk to the police about any investigation or accusation without an attorney present. Call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Charlotte, NC Remington & Dixon, PLLC to learn more.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.