What Should You Do If You're Falsely Accused of a Sex Crime?
In the era of #MeToo, it seems that sex crimes are more prevalent than ever. In reality, we're just more likely to hear about them now than in years past. Although Ohio sexual assaults were reported at a rate of 86.9 per 100,000 population in 2015, you have to remember that this number does not include all those sex crimes that were not reported by victims. Ultimately, sexual assault victims are far less likely to report at all than they are to falsely accuse someone of a sex crime.
However, that's not to say that false accusations never happen. They can and do -- at essentially the same rate that all false reports of other crimes occur. If you feel you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, you may be overwhelmed with emotion and confused about what to do next. We hope this post will help you protect yourself, should you ever be involved in this scenario. Here are some important things to keep in mind if you're falsely accused of sexual assault or another sex crime.
Take This Situation Very Seriously
First of all, it's essential that you recognize the gravity of this situation. Now, more than ever, the court of public opinion may play a huge role in your future. Even if you have been falsely accused and are subsequently proven innocent (or the charges are dismissed due to insufficient evidence), you may still struggle with the effects this accusation has on your reputation. Given the legal and social penalties you could face as a result, you cannot afford to be dismissive or take these accusations lightly.
Make No Statements to Anyone
If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, your gut instinct may be to proclaim your innocence to anyone who will listen -- including friends, family, and law enforcement. But you should resist the urge to comment on this situation at all. Whether an acquaintance asks you directly about these accusations or you're formally questioned by police officers, you should refrain from engaging in discussion, providing information, or making any statements pertaining to your involvement. You might be afraid that staying tight-lipped will make others think you have something to hide. But the truth is that this is the most effective way to protect yourself in this high-stakes scenario.
Hire a Sex Crime Attorney
When facing sex crime charges, you will undoubtedly need assistance from a reputable lawyer. You must find an attorney who has ample experience in the realm of sex crimes defense cases. Your sex crime attorney will explain your rights to you and help to develop your defense, should your case go to court. Even if you have not yet been formally charged but have been notified that you've been accused of a sex crime (or are the subject of rumors related to these crimes), it may still be advisable to consult with an attorney to make certain that if and when you're questioned or arrested that you will be informed of what to do next.
Educate Yourself on the Process
Although your attorney will likely do a lot of the heavy lifting, you should still educate yourself on the legal process and what you might expect if your case goes to court. It's important that you be fully involved in your own defense and that you can make decisions based on knowledge, rather than on instinct. That doesn't mean you should assume you know more than your attorney does; it simply means that you should take an active role and be able to provide information that could help your defense team obtain a favorable outcome.
If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, you can't rely on your innocence and the fairness of the criminal justice system. Instead, you need to be proactive and ensure you are able to mount the best defense possible. We're here to help. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.