False accusations of sexual assault are generally rare (making up less than 10% of all reported sexual assaults), but they do happen. If you are falsely accused of sexual assault, you’ll probably question the best way to defend yourself or if you should respond at all.
Unfortunately, you can’t let false accusations go unaddressed; in fact, doing nothing can make the situation worse. However, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.
Why False Accusations Arise
A sexual partner can raise false accusations of sexual assault for many reasons.
The alleged victim may know fully what they are doing and consciously make a false accusation against you. There are many reasons why a relationship may come to this. The alleged victim may want revenge for a perceived wrong.
They might also want to get an advantage in child custody or divorce proceedings. The judge might rule in their favor if the court believes you sexually assaulted the alleged victim. The accuser may simply regret the sexual encounter and claim that you took advantage of them in other cases.
False Reports of Sexual Assault
There may be cases where false accusations arise by mistake. The alleged victim could have made a report based on false memories of the incident. The incident could have occurred a while ago, and other factors could have been present that distorted the truth.
You also could have been mistaken for the actual offender, or your accuser could be mentally unstable.
No matter the reason for the false allegations, you need to act quickly to keep them from spiraling out of control.
What to Do When You’re Falsely Accused
When you’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault, there’s a lot you can do to help your case. On the other, there’s also a lot you shouldn’t do. Here are some dos and don’ts when facing sexual assault claims.
Don’t Contact the Accuser
If you find out you have been falsely accused, your first reaction may be to reach out to your accuser to set the record straight. But doing so may give the alleged victim evidence to convict you.
Once allegations are brought forward, do not communicate with the accuser through any means except your attorney. Any social media posts, texts, or phone conversations you make about the alleged assault could be used against you.
Don’t Try to Explain Yourself to the Police
In addition to not speaking to the alleged victim, pleading your case to the police can do more harm than good. It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you when you’ve been falsely accused of a serious crime.
However, you must resist this urge and exercise your right to remain silent. Let your lawyer do the talking for you to avoid self-incrimination.
Maintain Your Version of Events
As soon as you learn you have been accused, record your recollection of the incident. Note important information from your memory such as:
- The date, time, and location of the alleged assault
- If any witnesses were present
- If drugs or alcohol were involved
Send this information to your attorney as soon as you can.
Supporting Evidence That Helps Your Case
In addition to your record of the incident, provide your lawyer with any other evidence that could be used to support your case. Such evidence might include:
- Text messages between you and the alleged victim
- Photos or video from the date of the incident
- The clothes you were wearing during the alleged incident
Don’t turn any evidence over to the police or discuss the incident with them without contacting your attorney first.
You Could Still Face Penalties
Even if you know the sexual assault allegations against you are false, you can still face penalties if the case goes to court.
Even though there is a presumption of evidence if you are accused of sexual assault, the court may side with your accuser if they successfully create a compelling case to support their account of the incident.
Your attorney will examine all the available evidence to create reasonable doubt in your case.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
You should never try to defend yourself against false accusations of sexual assault on your own. Even if you are innocent, accusations of sexual assault can permanently affect your life.
Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., can help you create a solid defense to clear your name of false sexual assault allegations. Call 941-363-7900 today or fill out the online contact form for a free and confidential consultation.View All Blogs