Being falsely accused of rape is a traumatic and life-changing situation. If you find yourself in this position, you need to take urgent steps to assemble evidence in your defense and clear your name.
Our team at Mike G Law is here to help you understand the seriousness of being falsely accused of rape and guide you through the steps you need to take to defend yourself.
How Common Are False Rape Charges?
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) points to reviews suggesting that between 2% and 10% of rape allegations might be false or unsubstantiated. However, this is a tiny figure compared to the number of sexual assaults never reported or recorded (the report estimates that around 63% of rapes go unreported).
Many genuine incidents go unreported because the victim fears that the case will be dismissed. For this reason, lawmakers are increasingly determined to place the burden of proof on the accused.
If you are falsely accused of rape, you need to assemble an ironclad defense and gather as much evidence as possible. In addition, there are several common mistakes you need to avoid or risk harming your case. You must know what not to do even before your attorney explains how to proceed.
What To Do If Falsely Accused of Rape
The steps below outline how you need to act to avoid undermining your case. Following these steps will also help you build a strong case if you think you’ve been falsely accused of rape.
1. Find a Specialist Attorney
You must treat these allegations with the utmost seriousness. That means finding an attorney who specializes in defending clients against false accusations. You need to do this immediately after you are notified of allegations.
Research your attorney thoroughly. Ask about their track record defending these cases. When you contact them, let your attorney lead the conversation: a good attorney will know what questions to ask to start building a case. It is essential that you are honest, so that your lawyer understands the situation fully.
2. Remain Calm
The moment you learn that you have been falsely accused of rape can be shocking. It can be easy to spiral and panic, but you must remain calm. Your first step should be to find and contact a specialist lawyer. Do not start phoning your loved ones and explaining the situation in a panic.
These allegations will change your relationships with everyone you know, at least until your name is cleared. There will inevitably be some extremely uncomfortable conversations, but try to clear your mind and deal with functional steps before you speak to anyone.
You must try to hold down feelings of anger. It is natural to be angry and confused if false allegations are made against you, but acting on your emotions can be risky.
3. Do Not Contact the Accuser
Under no circumstances should you contact your accuser to find out why the allegations are being made. You should call your attorney, who will guide your next move.
Any contact you have with your accuser could be held against you in court. Your mind will be full of questions, but they can be answered during a trial with the assistance of your lawyer.
While you may want to get some personal closure with the accuser in such a stressful situation, any additional contact with the person only serves to hurt your case. In the worst case it can be viewed as additional harassment toward them.
4. Discuss Possible Motives With Your Attorney
If you can see a motive for the false allegations, think about how you can prove this motive. Make sure you can back up your assumptions, however, as your attorney will only be able to use a viable motive. Present full evidence of ongoing hostility or other relevant behavior by the accuser to your attorney.
This is vital information that can help your attorney build your defense and ask the right questions of the accuser during a cross-examination.
5. Construct a Clear Timeline of Events
You will be notified of when the alleged incident took place (if the charge is for a single incident). Assemble all the evidence you can to build an alibi for any dates and times. This could be anything from phone and text records to your internet browsing history or a strong alibi, such as being able to prove that you were elsewhere at the time.
Also include information about the accuser’s behavior towards you during this timeline. This will help your attorney create a clearer picture to prove your innocence.
6. Find Witnesses
Your best friend in this situation will be to establish a solid alibi. Ask potential witnesses to speak to you with your attorney, especially if you were with them or they can attest to you being elsewhere during the time of the offense.
Witnesses might also include anyone who could attest to strange behavior towards you by the accuser. This can help with establishing a motive.
Consequences of Being Charged or Being Found Guilty of Rape
Florida law considers rape a second-degree felony, punishable by 7 ¾ – 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Sexual battery, which includes the use of a weapon, is punishable by up to 30 years in jail or a life sentence if the weapon is deadly. If the victim is a minor, a life sentence is possible, while a life sentence without parole can be given if the victim was under 12.
Even being falsely accused of rape is life-changing. You must get a specialist attorney to defend you and help clear your name.
Contact the Team at Mike G Law Today
Mike G Law is a former sex crimes prosecutor with years of experience successfully defending clients from false accusations of rape. If you have been accused of sexual assault, get in touch with the team at Mike G Law immediately to start building your defense.