How to Defend Against False Accusations of Sexual Assault in California
Your future can be derailed by sexual assault accusations. Even if you avoid a conviction, the accusations alone can wreak havoc on your daily life and put your reputation at risk.
When false sexual assault allegations have been made against you, you need to take action to defend yourself. Contact our Oakland criminal attorneys if you’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault. Call 510-225-9955 to find out where to get started on your defense.
Motives for Making a False Accusation of Sexual Assault
It seems unfathomable that someone could make false allegations of sexual assault. Still, there are generally two primary types of false sexual assault allegation cases. These include accusations that stem from:
- Intentionally false accusations
- Unintentionally false or incorrect memories
Intentionally False Sexual Assault or Rape Accusations
Unfortunately, the vast majority of false sexual assault allegations are intentional and the motives include:
- The alleged victim expressing their anger towards the person they falsely accused
- As a form of revenge
- To deny the existence of a consensual sexual encounter
- To obtain sympathy from their family and friends
- As a way of expressing regret
- To draw attention to themselves
- For financial gain
- To gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case
- Mental instability
These are only a few of the more common motives behind intentionally false accusations of sexual assault. If you suspect a motive that was not described above, be sure to speak with an Oakland sexual assault attorney about your concerns.
False or Incorrect Memories of Sexual Assault or Rape
Often, someone may truly believe they were a victim of sexual assault when they are not. These beliefs are based on false or incorrect memories. Psychologists have referred to them as false memories.
Often, children and those who may be lacking in mental capacity or were intoxicated at the time of the offense are more vulnerable to false memories involving sexual assault or rape.
Is it a Crime to Falsely Accuse Someone of Rape?
California does not take false sexual assault accusations lightly. Depending on the details of the case, the party accused of making false accusations could face criminal charges themselves as well as a civil lawsuit.
Filing a false police report in California is a crime. Penal Code Section 148.5(a) makes it a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in the county jail if a person knowingly makes a false police report.
You Can Recover Damages from a Civil Lawsuit
You have the right to be made whole for the various ways your life has been affected by the false allegations against you. Some of the losses you could recover include:
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
- Reputational damage
- Emotional distress
What to Do if You’re Falsely Accused of Rape
There are very specific steps that you need to take if you have been falsely accused of sexual assault or rape in California. You need to be sure to handle these next steps correctly.
Here’s what to do:
Hire a Rape Defense Attorney
The very first thing you need to do when you discover that you are being investigated for a sex crime of any kind is to hire an attorney. The sooner you get your criminal defense attorney involved, the better you can protect yourself and your future.
Your lawyer and investigator will immediately begin to gather any evidence that could be used to support your case, protect your rights, and hopefully, avoid having any formal criminal charges filed against you.
Do Not Contact the Alleged Victim
Many people who have been falsely accused of sexual assault believe that speaking with their accuser could help to smooth things over. But attempting to contact the alleged victim could make things significantly worse for your case.
If you have specific concerns surrounding contact with the alleged victim, be sure to discuss them with your attorney and get the legal advice you need.
Provide Your Lawyer with Any Evidence
If you have any evidence that can help prove that the allegations against you are false, you need to hand them over to your attorney as soon as possible.
This can include cell phone records, social media exchanges, specific video cameras in certain neighborhoods, or photographs taken on the night in question that can challenge your accuser’s claims. The more evidence you can provide to your attorney to support your case, the better your chances are of obtaining an acquittal.
Carefully Document Your Version of Events
One of the problems with witness testimony is the fact that people’s memories are not perfect. For this reason, it is essential that you take time to document your version of the events in question. Write down everything you recall about the days leading up to the incident and the incident itself.
Every detail should be turned over to your attorney to validate your version of what happened. Do not provide this information to the police, who may attempt to use it against you.
How to Deal with False Accusations from a Spouse
If your spouse has made false sexual assault allegations against you, you may be unsure of how to handle it. First, it is important to find out whether there has been a restraining order filed against you. If so, you may be prohibited from communicating with your spouse, your children, and be ordered to stay away from the property.
Your attorney can help you figure out what your legal responsibilities are after you have been accused by your spouse. Be sure to keep meticulous records of any communications between you and your spouse. Also, be sure to provide your lawyer with any other evidence that proves the sexual assault allegations made against you are untrue.
Contact a Sexual Assault Lawyer in California for Help
When someone has made false allegations of sexual assault against you, and you are unsure of where to get started defending your case, contact a respected and knowledgeable California sexual assault attorney at Morris Law.