Sexual misconduct of any kind is a severe accusation. Even a baseless sex crime allegation can inflict irreversible damage to your reputation and personal relationships. Unfortunately, false accusations of sex crimes occur more often than you might think.
Although the U.S. criminal justice system guarantees defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the emotional nature of sex crimes can cloud the judgment of the most reasonable prosecutors and fact finders. In most sex crime cases, it truly feels as though the defendant is guilty unless proven innocent.
Once falsely accused of committing a sex crime, you should contact a sex crimes lawyer right away.
A criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and accompany you for any questioning by authorities.
What Should I Do After Being Falsely Accused of a Sex Crime?
The first thing you should do after being falsely accused of a sex crime is to contact a criminal defense lawyer.
Your lawyer can determine whether official criminal charges have been filed against you or whether the police are still investigating. They can discuss the accusations and alleged misconduct with the prosecuting attorney.
Hiring a lawyer is not an admission of wrongdoing. It is a way to protect your rights and prevent your conviction for a crime you did not commit.
Once you hire your lawyer and form an attorney-client relationship, all communication between you and your attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege. That means we must keep everything you say confidential unless you give us permission otherwise.
You should absolutely not attempt to contact the person you believe made false accusations against you.
Trying to confront your accuser can make things worse and appear to outsiders as if you are trying to intimidate them into retracting their allegations.
You should also avoid participating in a police interview without an attorney present. Law-enforcement can lie and provide you with false information to elicit a false confession.
Do not let the police use your own statements against you. A lawyer at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, can accompany you to police interviews and help ensure you do not incriminate yourself.
One of the most common tactics law-enforcement uses in sex crimes investigations is to get the alleged victim to call the suspect and then record it.
Such a call is referred to as a “controlled call” or a “pretext call.” The alleged victim is told to try to get the suspect to confess to committing an illegal act.
Even if the suspect says he or she is sorry in order to just make the caller go away, that is powerful evidence that can be used against the suspect in court.
Lastly, you should refrain from publicizing the details of your case. For example, some people vent frustrations about false accusations on social media, where their friends can interact with the post.
The prosecution can obtain your social media posts and find ways to use them against you at trial.
Why Do People Get Falsely Accused of a Sex Crime?
False accusations can arise in several different scenarios. Our team outlines some of those situations below.
Accusations of a sex crime offer a quick, easy way to destroy someone’s reputation and wreak havoc on their life. One scenario where false accusations can arise is when a scorned lover is seeking revenge.
Knowing the strong response elicited by sex crimes, your former lover might want to use such allegations to make you suffer ridicule and embarrassment.
Although individuals who make accusations of sex crimes that did not occur can face criminal penalties for making a false report, many do not face any consequences.
A sexual assault is almost always a traumatic experience that occurs unexpectedly.
Many people do not remember specific details after dealing with a traumatic experience. Thus, a sexual assault victim may mistakenly identify the wrong person in a photo lineup.
Statutory rape, referred to as unlawful sexual intercourse in California, occurs when an individual engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is underage, even if the underage person consents to the intercourse.
Statutory rape accusations can arise when someone above the age of 18 is dating someone under the age of 18.
For example, if a 19-year-old boyfriend has sexual intercourse with his 17-year-old girlfriend, the boyfriend could receive a misdemeanor charge for statutory rape, even if his girlfriend consented to the intercourse.
Family Law Matters
Sex crime allegations can also arise in the context of a custody battle. One parent could accuse the other parent of child molestation in an attempt to gain full custody of shared children.
An attorney can collect information from the accuser to demonstrate their hatred against you and the falseness of their allegations.
Types of Sex Crimes in California
California defines “sex crimes” as any misdemeanor or felony of a sexual nature. Examples of sex crimes in California include:
- Indecent exposure,
- Lewd acts with a child,
- Lewd conduct,
- Child sexual abuse,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- Failure to register as a sex offender,
- Prostitution, and
- Statutory rape.
We understand that defendants facing any of these charges risk losing their freedom and some of their constitutional rights if they are convicted.
An attorney can prepare a defense strategy for your case to help you get the best possible outcome.
Penalties of a Sex Crime Conviction
Many sex crime convictions carry prison sentences and fines. Beyond the criminal penalties, sex crime convictions impose added penalties, including:
- Possible ban on owning or possessing a firearm,
- Prohibition on voting during incarceration,
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender, and
- Inability to expunge the conviction from your record.
Additionally, sex offender registration is public information and can prevent you from obtaining specific job opportunities.
The best way to avoid the penalties for a sex crime is by demonstrating the accusations against you are false.
Contact a Sex Crimes Lawyer to Learn How to Prove Innocence When Falsely Accused
Law enforcement takes sex crimes very seriously, and you should too.
Once you discover sex crime charges have been filed against you, contact an attorney immediately to start defending your rights. A sex crimes lawyer can offer several advantages, such as:
- Negotiating with the prosecutor to lessen your charges or have your case dismissed entirely,
- Preparing a valid legal defense for your case, and
- Explaining the charges filed against you.
Our team of aggressive, experienced criminal lawyers at The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, knows how to spot false accusations and point them out to a judge or jury.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.