Those facing criminal charges like DUI, assault or fraud face potential jail time, fines and other severe penalties often face adversity that has little to do with the prosecution. While a DUI may not involve as much damage as sexual assault, many find themselves treated as guilty by the community they live in long before the trial begins. It can be biased stories in the media targeted towards public figures like politicians, athletes, ministers or business leaders. It can also be public shaming of the average person on Facebook, during encounters when they drop kids at school or verbally abused while they go about their lives. This damage to one’s reputation can impact a local business person just as easily as a public figure.
Protecting one’s reputation
The defendant can’t control what people talk about or post online, but they can take proactive steps to defend their reputation:
- Shame the shamers: It may be useful to point out the shamers’ tasteless, hurtful and inappropriate actions that are also heard by your loved ones.
- Educate them: Some people strive for conflict, and the most effective response may be (check with your attorney) to provide fact-based answers about the allegations.
- Focus on what you can control: Take the charges seriously but strive to spend time with family and friends as you work towards the best possible outcome in court.
- The law protects you: Defendants are innocent until the judge says otherwise, plus there are several laws that protect people from bullying or defamation of character.
Guidance often helpful
The courts do provide legal representation, but attorneys who handle criminal law cases for clients can guide them through the process and make sure the penalties fit the charges, or what charges best minimize the impact the penalties will have on the defendant’s life found guilty.