Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

How Do You Prove Mistaken Identity In A Criminal Case?


Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense can be distressing. But what is even more painful is being arrested and charged with a crime you did not commit. Unfortunately, getting convicted is still possible even if you are facing false accusations. Wrongful convictions are common in the US. According to the Innocence Project, one percent of the US prison population is falsely convicted. That is approximately 20,000 people. If you are facing false criminal charges, it is vital that you fight for your rights. Fortunately, criminal defense attorneys are available to help you.

After hiring an attorney to help you fight the false criminal allegations against you, they will help you develop a defense strategy. One defense that might be available for use is “mistaken identity.” It is not unheard of for eyewitnesses to mistake innocent people for criminals. Human memory is not as reliable as most people think. Also, trauma can affect a victim’s memory, making them think they saw you at the crime scene. Some witnesses even intentionally misidentify a person as the perpetrator of the crime in question.

How Can You Prove Mistaken Identity?

A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you solidify your mistaken identity defense. Establishing an alibi is one of the most common ways of solidifying a mistaken identity defense. So, what is an alibi? Establishing an alibi means you can prove that you were somewhere other than at the scene of the crime at the time the crime happened. An alibi defense allows you to present evidence suggesting you could not have committed the crime because you were not at the location of the crime when the crime happened. If you have witnesses who can verify that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred, this can be what helps you to prove your mistaken identity defense. Video surveillance footage or documents, such as workplace timecards, credit card receipts, or hotel reservations, can also support your alibi defense.

Another way of proving mistaken identity is through DNA testing. A sample of your DNA can be compared to evidence from the crime scene, and once the results are out, they can be used to establish whether you committed the crime. Luckily, DNA testing in the United States of America is more accurate today. Also, it is quick, more accessible, and more affordable.

Mistakes To Avoid if You Are Facing False Criminal Charges

While your attorney is busy trying to prove a case of mistaken identity, it is crucial that you avoid making certain mistakes. The first mistake you need to avoid making is failing to control your anger. Letting your anger control you instead of you controlling your anger could make you do things that harm your case. The second mistake you should avoid making is confronting the accuser. You might think that you can solve the issue by talking to the accuser, but the reality is that confronting the accuser often works against defendants. Lastly, you should avoid answering questions without an attorney. If you answer questions without your attorney, you may end up saying things that can be used against you.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing false criminal charges and need help proving your innocence, contact our skilled and dedicated NYC criminal attorney, Mark I. Cohen, at 212-732-0002.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
The New York Criminal Bar Association
Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2017
Avvo Reviews Mark L. Cohen


"... Mr. Cohen's effort... in everything he has done before the Court, is A-Plus... [R]ecently, in another case... [before me], the result he achieved for his client... was quite impressive." Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"So I have very sophisticated counsel here and, Mr. Cohen, [your client] is very fortunate in having you as his attorney, and I hope he appreciates that." – Quote from the Honorable Denise L. Cote, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"As Mark Cohen, a defense lawyer who has tried cases throughout the city and was a prosecutor in the Bronx, pointed out, there is a saying among defense lawyers in New York." – As provided in the New York Times City Room Blog.

Have an emergency? Call now
Translate »