Michigan criminal defense attorney

False Accusations – What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused

Scale of Justice depicting false accusations

If you are being investigated for a crime you did not commit, you should take immediate action to protect yourself.

Allegations of sex crimes have become one of our nation’s most hot-button topics in recent times. The movement that began in Hollywood quickly spread to many sectors of the business, academic, and political world.

Powerful men were finding themselves challenged by the testimonies of women who had long kept silent about the alleged sexual abuse or harassment they had experienced.

In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s contested nomination to the Supreme Court, we seem to have a nation at war.

One side says every woman making an allegation must be believed. The other side says his accuser is a liar who is making her claims from political motivations.

Do False Allegations Happen?

Unfortunately, the only people who know for sure whether the claims in this particular case are true are the accuser and the alleged abuser.

However, it becomes clear to every criminal attorney in situations like this that there are two sides to every story.

People can, and do, lie about sexual abuse in cases. Our clients are often in the awkward position of having to prove innocence in a type of case where an alleged victim is automatically believed.

The increase of arrests made for domestic violence claims, child sex abuse claims, and sexual assault claims have the potential to send many more innocent people to prison.

The Good and Bad of #MeToo

Many of the claims made by victims in #MeToo movement are based on fact. Claims based on fact should be addressed and perpetrators penalized.

However, the culture of #MeToo also makes it possible for liars to be believed without question.

But why would anyone lie about sexual assault? This question is repeatedly asked by supporters of high-profile accusers, and, increasingly, by law enforcement officers.

The question which needs to be asked in any rape accusation is “did this sexual assault happen?” The facts of the case are what our legal system has to concern itself with.

What Can Statistics Tell Us?

It is often reported that only 2% of rapes aren’t reported or that 994/1000 perpetrators walk free.

What these statistics don’t indicate is that our legal system works upon a burden of proof. If a prosecutor doesn’t have sufficient evidence to bring a case to court, or a judge throws out a case for insufficient evidence it will remain unadjudicated.

In the National Sexual Violence Resource Center case study relied upon most heavily by those who report this statistic, researchers were able to find only 5.9% of verifiably false accusations.

However, an additional 44.9% of cases were classified as “case did not proceed.” This doesn’t mean that every one of those cases was a false accusation. It does mean that close to 50% of all sexual violence cases can’t be proved in court.

Why Would Someone Lie About Sexual Assault?

The critical question is whether the allegations are true. As for the other question: why would a woman lie about a sexual assault? I will venture an answer to that. People make false allegations for a variety of reasons:

  • Domestic violence and sexual assault claims are common in divorce proceedings when one partner is vying for child custody.
  • In personal relationships, people make false claims for revenge, because of a misunderstanding, or to gain power over another person.
  • People also make false claims by accident, if the alleged perpetrator is a stranger. They can mistake someone’s identity. Often, law enforcement investigation tactics make it easier for victims to misidentify their assailants.
  • Additionally, as shocking as this might sound, teenagers and children are sexually aware at a younger age than ever before. We see young people make false claims to get out of trouble or to try to wield power over an adult in their lives. Teachers and step-parents are especially vulnerable to false allegations.

What to Do If You Are Falsely Accused

If you have been falsely accused, know that false accusations do happen. A competent criminal attorney will take the time to hear and investigate your side of the story.

Contact me as soon as possible if you have been falsely accused of a sex crime or in a domestic violence dispute. False accusations can ruin your life. Let me work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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This article was published on: October 19, 2018 and was last modified October 19, 2018