What to do if you are falsely accused of sexual assault

When falsely accused of rape or other forms of sexual assault, it is important to understand and protect your rights.

Our nation's legal system presumes each individual is innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't prevent someone from being falsely accused - or potentially convicted. Even without a conviction, especially in the case of sexual assault, an innocent person's life and reputation can be ruined due to a false accusation.

So what do you do if you have been falsely accused of rape or another form of sexual assault? Below are some guidelines for what to do - and not do - if you or a loved one face false accusations.

Know your rights, protect yourself

  • Don't say anything. The most important thing to remember is that you have a right to remain silent, even before the police read you your Miranda rights. Anything you say can be used against you in court. If the police show up at your door, don't panic. Don't try to explain anything or try to prove your innocence. Say nothing. Additionally, don't try to explain your side of the story to anybody, including family members. They could be subpoenaed to testify against you.
  • Take accusations seriously. It is important to realize the importance of false accusations and deal with them immediately. Educate yourself about sexual assault charges, your rights and the legal system. Write down as many details of the situation in question as you can, compile a list of possible witnesses or, if applicable, consider any alibis who could help to discredit the accusations.
  • Contact a criminal defense attorney. Secure qualified legal representation as soon as possible. You are guaranteed the right to a lawyer by the U.S. Constitution, and conversations with your attorney are protected under attorney-client privilege. Your attorney can help you to:
    • Deal with your accuser's threats
    • Advocate on your behalf with law enforcement
    • Protect you from incriminating yourself
    • Determine if charges have been filed and for what crimes
    • Negotiate with prosecutors
    • Help you to build a strong defense against charges

Don't wait to protect your legal rights

When dealing with sexual assault charges, time is of the essence. It is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and minimize the impact of false accusations.

At Nicholson, Gansner & Otis, our attorneys provide clients with a strong defense and work diligently to ensure their rights are protected. Contact our office to discuss your situation and how we can help.