What To Do If You Are Falsely Accused Of Sexual Assault
Women fall victim to sexual assault nearly every minute of every day in the United States. There is no age limit, and even if somehow the actual act is avoided, the violence alone is enough to traumatize and humiliate you. Police departments may mean well in their investigations, but many victims are left feeling vulnerable and somehow guilty after the fact. The sheer volume of unsolved and unsubstantiated cases, especially in large cities across the country, grow every year, and the list of people falsely accused of the crime grows every day when overworked investigators try to get dangerous criminals off the street. If this happened to you, would you know what to do?
Reasons Behind False Accusations
Sexual assault is defined as forcible sexual congress against an unwilling partner. This charge covers rape, attempted rape, statutory rape, assault with intent to rape, and sodomy. During an investigation, the sexual history of the victim is examined, and DNA samples taken, if possible. Anyone known to be among the victim’s association will be investigated, and asked for DNA samples. This is standard operating procedure for any sexual crimes unit within law enforcement.
Where the false accusations come in are in those cases where no assault was actually committed, or cannot be proven. Too often, a participant in a one night stand has second thoughts about the affair, or a parent lodges charges on behalf of an underage girl against their of age boyfriend, regardless of whether they believe the sex was consensual. Still other supposed victims may have mental disabilities that lead them to believe that someone they feel is attracted to them committed the crime as the result of a fantasy relationship. It is these types of scenarios that lead to genuine victims not being believed when they are truly assaulted.
What To Do If Accused
If you find yourself facing such charges, your first step should be to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Cooperate fully with law enforcement, even to the extent of giving up DNA samples. Be completely honest about your sexual history when asked by investigators, because any hesitation on your part could be perceived as guilt on your part. Chivalry and a desire to protect any female associations will not save you in this case, and fully cooperating with law enforcement, and your attorney, will help to mount the best defense possible.
This is one of the most serious felony charges possible, short of murder, that can be lodged against anyone. Penalties include jail time, and an automatic registry in the national sexual offenders watch list. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you avoid all of this, and with your cooperation, can get you through the trial to follow, if prosecutors decide to go ahead. The investigations leading up to this moment are extremely personal and invasive, and you must be prepared to deal with it, without giving in to stress and anger.
Because of the nature of the crime, defense tactics will be more personal than you may be prepared to deal with. The number one defense against this type of charge is to attack the accuser, and break down their accusations against you. Your sexual history may become public record, as well as any and all liaisons you may have had recently, and in the past. This can be very embarrassing, but it may be necessary, in order to mount an effective defense.
Your attorney will also have to refute any medical evidence presented by your accusers. If you have had consensual sex with the alleged victim, you must be honest about it. Your habits of sexual aggression will be examined, as well as your mental state, periods of anger, and your character. Sexual assault is not an easy charge to deal with, and a good defense can get ugly at times. Due process requires that you be able to effectively defend yourself, and the aftershocks of it all may not be as easy or as neat as portrayed on television.