]You can be arrested on someone’s word, but that does not mean another party’s statement is enough evidence to convict you of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. For you to be convicted of a crime, the accusing party and their legal team will need to gather enough evidence to prove that you are guilty.
Accusing someone of committing a crime is serious and can negatively impact their life for years to come. You may think that law enforcement cannot possibly justify arresting someone solely on another person’s word alone, but it can and does happen.
While the police can arrest you solely on someone else’s word, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to convict you in a court of law. A criminal defense attorney from our firm can protect your rights and provide a robust defense in court if the police arrest you on someone else’s word.
What Is Hearsay?
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, hearsay is a statement made by someone who is not present in court during a preliminary hearing to determine if a case should be brought to trial.
Hearsay is generally not admissible in a court of law, however, there are exceptions. An excited utterance made in the moment of or in the direct wake of a criminal act is usable in court. Another exception is a statement made by someone that is against their own best interest. Verifiable official documents such as those from the government or a business are also exceptions to the hearsay rule.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
Is Witness Testimony Hearsay?
No, testimony from a witness with personal knowledge of the events is not hearsay. If someone saw you commit a crime, went to the police to report you, and testifies in court against you, the jury could return a guilty verdict if they believe the testimony beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, not only can someone else’s word result in your arrest by the police, but it can also result in a conviction in court that can carry severe penalties such as imprisonment or a fine.
However, while witness testimony can result in a conviction without further evidence, someone reporting you to the police without witnessing you commit a crime is not enough for the prosecution to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They would need evidence from witnesses with personal knowledge about the evidence against you to present to the jury that demonstrates your guilt.
What If the Allegations Against You Are False?
Leveling false allegations against another person can ruin their life. A person can lose their job and be ostracized from their community.
A skilled trial lawyer will use changes in the story that the witness tells the police and inconsistent statements among witnesses to show that the witness is lying and that the testimony is not credible. A lawyer might also use failures in a police investigation to show that the prosecutor does not have enough credible evidence to convict you. If your lawyer can prove that the witness is lying with other physical evidence, then there could be a chance of getting the charges dropped before trial.
How Can a Lawyer Help You If You Were Arrested Based on Someone’s Word?
While it may be hard to believe that the police can arrest you on someone else’s word, you should not rely on the idea that the charges won’t stick. We strongly advise against arguing with the police during your arrest or any time after, because whatever you say or do can be held against you in court. We encourage you to consider obtaining legal representation from a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling your type of case.
A criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights by ensuring the police were following proper procedure during your arrest. They can also prevent you from saying anything incriminating by speaking on your behalf and advising you on how to answer questions that could be incriminating. A lawyer is there to look out for your best interests when the police and the prosecution will not.
Your lawyer will be able to investigate the allegations against you and take a close look at the source of the allegations. A lawyer can also collect evidence to support your innocence and question the credibility of the person who made the allegations.
You Can Trust Our Firm to Challenge the Prosecution
We can develop a strategy to defend you and challenge the prosecution’s case against you. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The prosecuting attorney will have to present evidence to the court justifying your arrest and proving your guilt.
Our job will be to counter the prosecution, challenge the allegations against you, and support your innocence. If your case goes to trial, we will have to persuade a jury to produce a verdict in your favor.
When we develop a defense strategy, we want to involve you in the process. You have the power to approve or reject a defense strategy.
The person who made the allegations against you will have to repeat their claims in court under oath. This puts them at risk of committing perjury if their allegations are false. We will have an opportunity to cross-examine them while they are on the stand, and you have the right to face your accuser in court. If they fail to show up for court, the prosecution does not have a case unless there is additional evidence against you.
Learn More About Whether Someone’s Word Can Result in Your Arrest Today
Words can do a lot of damage to your reputation and put your freedom at stake. Seeking experienced legal representation from a criminal defense attorney offers you a chance to fight back.
A criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC may be able to help you, and we will work to build a robust defense as we protect your rights and discover the facts of your case. We have the experience to handle your case, and our case results speak for themselves.
To learn more about whether the police can arrest you on someone’s word, or to discuss your case, please contact us today.