Criminal charges of any type can make for frightening experiences. However, when those charges are connected to sex crimes such as sexual assault, even allegations alone have the potential to wreak havoc upon your personal and professional life. Because sex crimes are among the most serious charges one can face, and because they are surrounded by a harsh social stigma, it becomes immensely important for individuals facing allegations made without merit to take appropriate steps to defend their rights, reputation, and future.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing clients across Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and Southern California against a range of serious criminal charges – including sex crimes and sexual assault. If you or someone you love have been arrested and charged, or have been made aware of a pending investigation, in connection to false allegations, you need to understand the seriousness involved, and why you need to take the right steps. Below are a few things you should know when facing false allegations:
- Even if you are innocent, you need to protect yourself – Far too many people believe that if they are innocent, the truth will come out. Although this is how we expect things to work, the unfortunate truth is that they do not always work this way in our criminal justice system. This is especially true in cases involving serious allegations like sexual assault, where public opinion and social views can negatively impact and influence cases, not to mention tarnish one’s reputation. Even if the allegations made against you are false, you cannot risk facing charges or the penalties that accompany sex crime convictions, which may include lengthy terms of imprisonment and registration on a sex offender registry. Take no chances to make your side of the story heard, and speak to a lawyer about what you can do.
- Early intervention is important – Just as you cannot take chances when it comes to defending yourself against false allegations, you will want to make the most of your opportunity to defend yourself by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. Early intervention is key to helping you understand what, if any, evidence law enforcement has against you, as well as ways to possibly intervene and negotiate with prosecutors prior to the filing of any former charges. Effective pre-file intervention, which can be bolstered by early independent investigations conducted by you and your lawyer, can provide an opportunity for no charges. Early intervention can also aid in building an effective defense that disproves the allegations you face.
- There are defense strategies – Remember, just because you have been accused of a crime does not mean you are guilty – you are considered innocent until proven otherwise. Additionally, the government (prosecutors) has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which means you have the opportunity to defend yourself with the help of an attorney and provide evidence as to why the allegations are not true. Depending on the individual facts of your case, effective defense strategies may shed light on false accusations by highlighting a lack of contact between you and the accuser, arguing issues of consent, discussing mistaken identity, or focusing on other elements that may have led to false claims, including disputes over child custody, among others.
The nature of sex crime allegations cannot be understated – these are serious crimes that pose life-altering penalties. If the allegations against you are false, you have the opportunity to wage an effective defense, or intervene to avoid charges altogether. However, you must take decisive and immediate action to do so. Contact our legal team as soon as possible to learn how we can help.