A false accusation of sexual assault—or any sex crime—can be devastating. Even mere allegations may result in irreparable damage to your personal and professional reputation—despite not being proven guilty of the crime itself.
If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault, you need to start protecting yourself and planning for your defense as soon as you suspect you are under investigation. Although it is quite natural to think that if you didn’t do it, you will be found innocent of the charges once you “tell your side of the story,” or after the investigation ends. Unfortunately, failing to take action may result in much deeper legal troubles than you started out with.
The following are the proper steps to take after being falsely accused of sexual assault:
- Retain legal representation from an attorney – You must start your defense by getting experienced legal help from a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights and best interests throughout all stages of the proceedings. Your attorney can evaluate your case and determine all of the available legal options you have in getting the most favorable results possible.
- Educate yourself – Although you may have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side, it is wise to educate yourself on the subject area of the allegations you are facing. When your attorney tells you that you must do something, it is critical to understand why you must do that. You need to learn why things are necessary.
- Build a timeline – Start documenting your experience and interactions with the accuser, including the dates of the events. Begin from day one and go through to today in as much detail as possible. This will be a great tool for your defense.
- Back yourself up with expert credibility – Investigators may need to be hired, psychological tests may need to be ordered and taken, and general discovery must occur. However, all of this will cost. Be mindful of experts who promise cheap and simple solutions.
- Develop a witness list – Compile a list of potential witnesses to the alleged events. Include the people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, and a brief biography, if possible.
Fortunately, an experienced attorney will walk you through this process and will provide you with aggressive and compassionate advocacy require to protect yourself and your future.