Law enforcement is not perfect. Innocent people get accused of crimes. And, while eventually justice will prevail, it is important that your reaction to a false accusation not make your situation worse.
When innocent people are accused of crimes they did not commit, they usually get angry. They wonder why this is happening to them. But, you have to deal with it wisely because bad things happen in life. And, your main weapon against the accusation is your behavior. You can make the situation worse by reacting in an angry manner and saying and doing things you will regret. So what do you do?
First, you should never agree to answer questions by law enforcement. It is not going to help. If you want to read more about this, read my article 5 Reasons to Ask for a Lawyer when questioned by Law Enforcement Second, talk to a defense attorney immediately.
Now, let’s talk about your behavior. Law enforcement has to do its job. So, it is best not to confront them or your command and begin saying things in anger. This may be a natural inclination. But, if you can learn to control your anger in times of peril, you will be able to control everything else in your life. Controlling your anger is a sign of strength, not weakness. When you do or say anything out of anger, you will regret it 100% of the time. Take it from Warren Buffett. When asked for a piece of advice that has helped him the most, Warren Buffett said: “You can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow.” Warren Buffett said that his friend gave him this advice 50 years ago and it is the most useful thing he has ever learned. In other words, don’t get angry and say something you will regret. Wait until tomorrow to say what you are tempted to say today. You most likely won’t feel the need to lash out at someone the next day–after you have cooled down. And, you will be glad you did not.
You are facing injustice. Instead of fueling your anger, take smart steps to deal with your situation. Talk to your attorney about the best steps to take in your case and what to do while the investigation is pending. This doesn’t mean you give in or give up. No. You will fight the allegations and you will win. It is hard to deal with such a situation. No doubt. But, you should not be lashing out at people you believe are targeting you or treating you unfairly. Behavior matters. Your behavior is critical. Your behavior is a reflection of your character. It’s never too late to learn how to change your behavior and control your anger. The first step is identifying that this behavior is not healthy for you and not helpful to the criminal investigation and your case.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Stay strong and justice will prevail. And, when it is over, you can hold your head high and know that through it all, you acted professionally and did not succumb to doing things you would have regretted. Read Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” because this is how you should act.
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise..”
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions.
Ferah Ozbek is a retired from the United States Air Force where she served as an active duty judge advocate for over 20 years. She continues to practice military law and represents military members and veterans who are facing injustice. To learn more about how Ferah can help you, you can send her an e-mail at [email protected] or direct message her on LinkedIn. Visit Ferah’s website at ferahozbek.com