When people hear the term “entrepreneur,” different things might come to mind. It’s a blanket term that can mean a business owner or operator. However, it might simply mean someone who creates a business plan, hires the labor to oversee their vision, and then they sell the company or idea at the first opportunity.
If you’re an entrepreneur, regardless of your exact business model, a time might come when someone accuses you of something illegal or underhanded. The law might bring criminal charges against you, or someone might decide to go after you in a civil case.
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Maybe someone accuses you of a white-collar crime like embezzlement or fraud. Perhaps you’re facing sexual assault or drug charges.
Whatever it is, you should figure out the next steps that make the most sense. We’ll go over a few things you can do right now.
Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is probably the first thing you’ll want to do, regardless of any other details. It doesn’t so much matter whether it’s a civil or criminal case, or both. It doesn’t matter at this point whether you’re guilty or innocent.
Once you have a lawyer, you can talk to them about your options. They can give you expert legal advice, and together, you can work out your strategy.
You might even have a lawyer on retainer already. Some entrepreneurs know that it’s easy to get into complicated legal territory, so they might have a lawyer on the payroll to whom they can immediately go with no searching or hiring necessary.
One thing you might decide to do in this situation is to say nothing to the media or any other individual or entity about the charges you’re facing. In this scenario, inaction is one option, and your lawyer might tell you it’s your best one.
When you’re attempting to figure out whether to stay silent, you’ll need to calculate whether it will do more damage to remain aloof or whether it’s better to make a statement. Silence sometimes indicates guilt, so you may want to address the charges in some way.
Hire a PR Firm
Hiring a PR firm is another strategy you might utilize. PR firms are experts in handling delicate situations. You can sit down with them and figure out your best path forward.
They might work with you to come up with a statement you can make to the public and the media. You might call a press conference and address the charges against you directly. You can say they have no merit, and you look forward to having your day in court or something to that effect.
If you take this approach, remember that the media might ask you follow-up questions. You might refuse to answer them and leave the podium when you finish giving your statement, or you may choose to respond.
Remember, though, the media members might have some “gotcha” style questions ready. They want to try and trip you up, so you’ll say something incriminating or make a contradictory statement.
You might have your lawyer or a PR firm member speak on your behalf. They can issue a short statement and then refrain from taking any questions.
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You Can Use a Private Investigator
If you are facing a civil trial, you might decide to go on the offensive. This is probably going to involve using a private investigator to dig up dirt on the person or people accusing you of whatever the charge is.
Some PR firms already employ private investigators who can look into your accusers. They can try to find out any salacious details about these individuals, and then they can leak them to the press or find some other way to get them into the public eye.
This tactic is not illegal, provided you only use approved means to find the relevant information. You might not feel great about doing it, but if you know it’s the best way to apply pressure, it might be your best option.
If you make the public aware of certain details about your accuser’s background, they might decide to drop the charges against you. You can also approach their lawyer and mention that you have this information and won’t release it if they drop the charges. It might make you feel slimy, but again, it’s legal.
If you did nothing wrong, then ideally, you can escape conviction and walk away with your reputation untarnished.