According to the Symposium on False Allegations of Rape, 2%–8% of rape allegations are provably false. In addition, 44.9% of cases did not proceed, meaning there was insufficient evidence or the incident did not meet the legal standard of assault. Sexual assault is a serious allegation that can land the accused – guilty or not – in jail with a permanent felony record. If someone has falsely accused you of sexual assault on a college campus and you did not commit the crime, take the following 4 steps to protect yourself:
Your first step should be to retain a criminal defense attorney with experience handling false sexual assault allegations on college campuses. Orent Law Office has honest, straightforward, and aggressive criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix available to help. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after you hear of the allegations against you to maximize your chances of protecting your rights and avoiding a wrongful conviction.
Speak to an attorney before talking to anyone else, especially investigators and school officials. Your school’s Title IX investigator for sexual assault claims is not on your side. Even though you’re innocent, you should seek legal assistance. Don’t wait until you are expelled from the school. Take false accusations seriously and protect your rights with a capable attorney.
Another compelling reason to retain an attorney is that he or she can protect important evidence concerning your case from destruction. This may include phone records, emails, letters, photos, videos, clothing, and other objects. These items can either place you somewhere else at the time of the assault or place someone else at the scene of the crime. If you know of any evidence that can help your case, do your best to gather it and keep it in a safe place until you speak to an attorney.
Create a list of possible witnesses who may be able to testify on your behalf. This includes anyone you believe has information about the accuser, the incident in question, or the sexual assault accusation. Write down the witnesses’ names and contact information and gather written statements with signatures if possible. Be prepared to share this information with your attorney. Do not speak to witnesses if they are taking the side of your accuser.
If you did not commit the crime, it can be easy to believe there’s no way the judge will find you guilty. This can lead you to do things such as destroying items you think may make you look guilty. In today’s academic environment, schools aggressively follow up on sexual assault claims and heavily prosecute alleged offenders to prove their campus keeps students safe. Even if you’re innocent, you’re not safe. Destroying evidence can make you look suspicious.
Do not try to talk to the alleged victim about the case or anything else until you speak to a lawyer. The victim may skew any contact against you, lying or exaggerating what you said to put you in a poor light. Arm yourself with an attorney before talking to investigators or law enforcement. You have the right to refuse to answer questions until you have an attorney present.
Sexual assault accusations on a college campus will not go away on their own. You should prepare yourself for a full-blown investigation and possibly even a court case defending your innocence. The sooner you talk to a sexual assault lawyer about your situation, the better. An attorney can listen to your plight and give you more detailed, personalized advice as to what actions to take. Don’t let a false accusation ruin your life. Get the legal help you need.