December 30, 2020 | Sex Crimes
In the state of Ohio and around the country, sexual assault comes with serious consequences. If convicted of sexual assault, an individual might face lengthy prison sentences and have to enroll as a convicted sex offender. The latter punishment can stay with you for life and make it difficult to apply for a job or secure adequate housing.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, even though every person charged with a sex crime is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, that is not always the case. Social media and a hyper-charged news media have made it so that those accused of sexual assault are assumed to be guilty from the start.
Even if simply accused of sexual assault, individuals could lose their jobs and face other serious consequences. However, to combat false accusations of sexual assault, there are steps you can take to prove your innocence.
Hire a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney
The first and most important step to proving you are innocent is hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney. A good attorney will work with you to develop a robust defense that proves you are innocent even before your case gets to trial.
Note that not all criminal defense lawyers are of the same quality and you need one who has experience defending those who have been falsely accused of sexual assault. Defending against false accusations is a very narrow area of the law and requires experience and know-how in order to do it well.
For your part, the most important thing you can do is remain silent. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows those accused of crimes the right to silence so as not to incriminate themselves.
The biggest mistake individuals make is willingly answering questions police and others ask them about the charges. You might think that because you are innocent you have nothing to hide. But you need to know that everything you say will be used against you and that police have ways of inducing confessions and other damaging statements even if they are not true.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
It is crucial to proving your innocence that you gather as much evidence as possible. Helpful evidence includes:
- Physical evidence from the scene of the alleged crime
- Video and pictures
- Witness testimony
- Police records and background checks on all the parties involved
- Evidence that speaks to the dubious nature of the accusations or the questionable character of the accuser
By working with your lawyer and gathering as much evidence as possible you can begin to put together a clear picture of what really happened. What’s more, is that the evidence you gather might be able to contradict what your accuser has falsely claimed.
Impeach Witnesses Who Testify Falsely
If you have evidence to prove that the testimony of a witness is false, you and your lawyer can move to have the witness impeached. Not only will this show the judge and the jury that the claims of your accuser and their co-conspirators are questionable, but it will also show the other side that you are serious about your innocence.
Often, when a person making false accusations realizes that the defendant is not going to take things lying down, they begin to question whether or not to continue to pursue legal action against them.
Sue for Libel or Defamation
Going on the offensive can be a powerful strategy for defending against false accusations of sexual assault. The state of Ohio has a relatively broad definition of these two concepts making legal action a real possibility.
Again, this strategy will show your false accuser that there will be consequences to their lies. If you work with your attorney and take all of the above steps, it can go a long way to proving you are innocent and even to keeping your case from ever going to court.