What Should I Do if I am a Witness to a Crime?
To protect yourself against threats or having criminal charges filed against you, contact our Gwinnett County criminal defense attorney right away if you are a witness to a crime.
Being a witness to a crime in Georgia is a serious matter. Cooperating with a police investigation and testifying at trial could put your safety at risk. Not doing so may cause the alleged-suspect to go free, giving them the freedom to commit the crime again. It could also cause you to face allegations of contempt or other criminal charges. To protect yourself in this situation, get our Gwinnett County criminal defense attorneys on your side.
Why Do I Need A Criminal Defense Attorney if I Was Just a Witness to a Crime?
If you witnessed a crime in Georgia, it puts you in a predicament. You may want to help the police but have concerns about your personal safety and the impact on your life in the aftermath. This is a valid fear and one of the main reasons why you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side.
Having an attorney represent you helps to protect you against negative impacts. Under the Georgia Criminal Code (Ga. Code § 16-10-94), if an alleged criminal, their attorney, or other associates attempts to influence or intimidate you, it is considered tampering with evidence. This includes:
- Attempts to contact you or appearing at home or at your place of business;
- Following you or approaching you in public places;
- Making any type of appeal for you to change your story;
- Making any type of threat against you, your family, or others involved.
What if I Refuse to Testify?
A witness may be someone who saw a crime occur. It may also be someone who was once involved in criminal activity and has since decided to cooperate with the police. After first making contact with law enforcement, a witness may change their mind, particularly when asked to make statements at the police station or before a judge in Gwinnett County Criminal Court proceedings. What happens if you refuse?
- The suspect could escape justice: You could be at least partly responsible for letting a potentially dangerous criminal walk free. Particularly with violent crimes, uncooperative witnesses often feel a huge amount of guilt when the crime happens again.
- You could face charges: Refusing to cooperate with police could result in obstruction of justice charges. You could also be charged with contempt for failing to testify in court.
- You could be implicated in the crime: If you are a party to a crime, cooperate with the police, then change your mind, the information you originally provided could be used against you.
Request a Free Consultation With Our Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Being a witness to a crime is a difficult situation. At Zimmerman & Associates, we help to ensure your rights and safety are protected. To discuss your case, call or contact our Gwinnett County criminal defense attorneys online and request a free confidential consultation today.