What to Do When Facing False Accusations of a Sexual Crime
Have you been subjected to false sexual claims or allegations? If so, you should know this is a serious legal matter, even if those claims are utterly false.
Without proper legal representation, persons facing false sex assault claims can find themselves spending up to 99 years in prison and paying fines up to $10,000. If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm immediately for a confidential legal review of your case.
False sex claims are surprisingly common
Often, the person making the false claim is someone who is close to the defendant—perhaps a parent, spouse or disgruntled employee—who is unhappy with them. Such persons may make false claims of sexual assault, rape or child sexual abuse as a way to lash out at the defendant due to anger, revenge or even greed for a monetary award.
For instance, a date or a partner may have lashed out with a false claim after an argument out of anger or revenge, or an overly protective adult may have influenced a child’s understanding of an event and exploited the child’s overactive imagination, perhaps to gain leverage during a divorce.
When the person making a false sexual claim has such a motive, a knowledgeable sex crime defense lawyer can investigate, expose and challenge their false claim.
Why do people make false sex claims?
False allegations of sexual misconduct can arise from various sources and motivations, often deeply rooted in personal or psychological factors. These can include:
- Coerced beliefs in children. There are instances where children or even adults are manipulated into believing and then asserting false claims, often due to external pressure or suggestions from others.
- Revenge motives in adults. In some cases, adults may falsely accuse someone of sexual misconduct as a form of revenge, particularly if they have a grievance or past conflict with the accused.
- Teens with resentment. Adolescents experiencing anger or resentment toward a parent, teacher or another authority figure might make false claims as an expression of their frustration or to exert control.
- Estranged spouses in legal disputes. During bitter divorces or custody battles, some individuals may resort to false accusations of sexual assault as a tactic to gain leverage in legal proceedings and custody battles.
- Workplace sabotage. Employees or coworkers might make false allegations against someone in the workplace, either to harm the accused due to personal conflicts or as a strategy to advance their own position or reputation.
Understanding and identifying the various motivations behind false sex claims is crucial in developing a strong legal defense.
False sex crime accusations are damaging
Even if found to be false in a legal proceeding, false sexual accusations can be damaging to the innocent defendant. Society behaves harshly toward those perceived to be guilty of sexual misconduct. False claims can badly tarnish an individual’s reputation and even limit their ability to secure employment and housing.
It’s true: A false claim of rape, sexual assault or child molestation can ruin a defendant’s life—even if such a claim is later determined to be unfounded.
Worse, in court, a jury may want to “err on the side of caution” when finding an innocent defendant guilty after false claims of rape or other serious sex crimes.
With a rape charge, unlike a charge for murder, jurors may have little or no physical proof that the event happened—or didn’t happen—but may still see guilt where there is none for emotional reasons.
If a defendant is convicted despite false sex claims and accusations, that person can face years of prison time, substantial fines and the difficulties associated with having to register as a sex offender.
Fortunately, while it’s easy to make false accusations, such lies can be difficult for prosecutors to prove if the defendant has an experienced and skilled false accusations lawyer like Neal Davis who can develop a strong case to show reasonable doubt.
If you or a family member faces a sex crime charge for something you didn’t do, you may wonder if it’s a crime in itself to falsely accuse someone of a sex crime.
What are the penalties for sex crimes in Texas?
In Texas, the minimum prison sentence for sexual assault, which is considered a second-degree felony, is 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
For more severe cases, especially those involving children under 6, violence, weapons, or multiple offenders, the penalties are even harsher.
Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony with a sentence of up to 99 years in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000. If the victim is an adult, the minimum prison sentence starts at 5 years. If the victim is under 6, the minimum sentence is 25 years.
Additionally, if a person is on trial for a first-degree felony sexual assault and has a prior conviction for a violent sexual assault, meaning they’re a repeat offender, they could face life imprisonment without parole, as stipulated by Texas Penal Code §12.42(c).
How do you prove innocence when falsely accused of a sex crime?
Defending against sex crime allegations requires a thorough and strategic approach, as these charges are serious and can have significant consequences.
Below are some common defenses that an experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to deploy on your behalf:
- Alibi. Providing an alibi means showing that the accused was not present at the time and location of the alleged crime. This can be supported by witness testimony, receipts, surveillance footage or any other evidence that proves the accused’s whereabouts.
- False accusation. The defense might argue that the allegations are entirely false. This could be due to reasons like personal vendettas, custody battles or mental health issues of the accuser. Demonstrating inconsistencies in the accuser’s story or motives for lying can support this defense.
- Consent. In cases where the sexual act occurred, the defense may argue that it was consensual. This involves proving that both parties agreed to the act knowingly and voluntarily, without any coercion.
- Mistaken identity. The accused may claim that they have been incorrectly identified as the perpetrator. This defense might rely on weaknesses in how the identification process was conducted or on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.
- Mental incapacity or intoxication. In some cases, the defense may claim that the accused was mentally incapacitated or intoxicated, impacting their ability to form the intent necessary for a sex crime. However, this is a complex defense and often depends on specific legal standards.
- Insufficient evidence. Arguing that the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is a common defense. This can involve questioning the credibility of evidence or highlighting the lack of physical or forensic proof. Forensic evidence, especially DNA, can sometimes be used to exonerate someone accused of a sex crime, especially if it conclusively shows that the accused was not involved.
Each case is unique, and the appropriate defense strategy depends on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations. It’s crucial for anyone facing such charges to seek competent legal counsel who can evaluate the case’s specifics and develop an effective defense strategy.
An aggressive sex crime defense attorney may even be able to turn the tables and take legal action against your false accuser.
What not to do if you’re falsely accused of a sex crime
If you find yourself falsely accused of a sex crime in Houston, it’s crucial to know what actions to avoid to protect your rights and future:
- Firstly, avoid any direct or indirect confrontation with your accuser. Engaging with them can escalate the situation and may be used against you later.
- Secondly, refrain from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney. Casual conversations, even with those you trust, can lead to unintended information leaks and fuel rumors or misconceptions.
- Lastly, do not speak to the police or any law enforcement officials without your attorney present. Interacting with police without legal representation can be risky; they are skilled in interrogation and might lead you to make statements or admissions that could harm your defense and be used against you in court.
Remember, your words and actions during this time are critical, so it’s paramount to exercise caution and follow your attorney’s advice closely.
Can you sue someone who falsely accuses you of a sex crime in Texas?
Yes, if you’ve been falsely accused of a sex crime and have suffered consequences, such as job loss or damage to your community standing, you may have grounds for a defamation of character lawsuit, assuming no charges are pending against you.
This type of lawsuit targets those who have knowingly communicated false statements, either orally or in writing, with the intent to harm your reputation. The lawsuit would need to demonstrate that the accuser was aware or should have been aware that their statements were false, yet they made these statements to intentionally cause you harm.
Compensation in such lawsuits can cover monetary losses like attorney fees and lost salary, as well as non-monetary damages like humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit against an accuser for making false claims.
Get help from a skilled Houston sex crime defense attorney
If you’re facing accusations of a sex crime in Texas, it’s crucial to act swiftly to protect your rights. Contact Neal Davis at the Neal Davis Law Firm, a seasoned Houston criminal defense attorney with over 25 years of experience specializing in sex crime defense.
Neal has skillfully handled more than 1,000 state and federal cases, bringing a depth of knowledge and expertise to your defense. Reach out to the Neal Davis Law Firm immediately to secure the dedicated and experienced legal representation you need to protect your rights and reputation.