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Being falsely accused of any crime, let alone a sex crime, can have serious ramifications for the accused. Because of the internet, a person's arrest for a sex crime could follow them for the rest of their life, even if they are never convicted of the crime.
While the social stigma of sex crime charges is nearly impossible to prevent, below, you'll find the top 5 legal tips on how to fight false accusations.
1. Remain Silent
If you've been falsely accused, the truth may be damaging. You don't know what the police have been told, and they are under no obligation to be honest with you. Even though you may have been home alone on the date and time in question, a false accusation may actually state that the incident happened at your home. By telling the truth, you may be corroborating a false accusation without ever knowing it. Because prosecutors must decide in a very short period of time to press charges or not after an arrest, the less information you provide, the better.
The only exceptions to remaining silent involve providing your name and requesting a lawyer.
2. Request a Lawyer
The first thing anyone should do after being arrested, particularly if they have been falsely accused, for a sex crime, or any serious crime for that matter, is request and retain an experienced attorney. An attorney can gather information about the case against you and attempt to devise a legal defense strategy. Additionally, you have the right to have an attorney present during interrogations by police.
3. Hire a Private Investigator
While costly, hiring a licensed private investigator to help gather facts can be critical to proving your innocence. A private investigator may be able to testify to facts they discover to assist your case so that you don't have to. Generally, criminal defendants cannot be compelled to testify in court, thanks to the Fifth Amendment's protections.
4. Be Weary of Plea Bargains
Oftentimes, rather than dismiss questionable false charges, if proving a case is not a slam dunk, or likely, a district attorney will offer a seemingly generous plea bargain. However, when a sex crime charge is involved, defendants need to be rather careful about accepting plea bargains. The plea bargain could include terms requiring lifetime registry to the sex offenders list, or other related punishments. Frequently, criminal defendants feel forced into taking agreements because of the risks and costs involved with taking a serious criminal case to trial.
5. Don't Discuss Your Case With Anyone Except Your Lawyer
The right to remain silent is among the most effective tools for criminal defendants. Sometimes, the most damning evidence comes from a defendant's own statements to the police, and sometimes, it'll come from a defendant's own statement to a friend, relative, or even a cell mate, that can lead to a conviction.