In Missouri, the possible penalties for the commission of a sex crime are very severe. However, false accusations can have penalties that are not sanctioned by the court. In other words, false accusations should be taken very seriously, and are not necessarily uncommon, especially when related to acts such as rape or sexual assault.
In fact, false accusations can negatively impact personal reputations, business relationships, even leading to imprisonment and registration on a sex offender list.
Types of false accusations and their penalties
Often, the person making a false accusation is unfortunately close to the accused. The false accuser can sometimes be another family member like an ex-spouse, child or disgruntled coworker. These accusations can take the form of revenge or in an attempt to gain leverage over another person. For example, false accusations of child molestation can appear in divorce and custody proceedings to convince a judge to award custody to one parent over the other.
Regardless of their truth, allegations can have serious penalties including not being awarded custody, monetary fines and even the possibility of life imprisonment without the opportunity of parole. However, to be convicted of a sex crime, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed. When the accusation is false, this can be difficult, especially when the evidence is completely fabricated.
How to defend against a sex crime accusation
Because the accusation of a sex crime can have very serious consequences, it is important to respond quickly, regardless of whether a court has issued an indictment.
1. Take accusations seriously
It is important to understand how important false accusations are and handle them accordingly. Educate yourself about the specific accusation, understand your corresponding legal rights, and how the legal system responds.
To prepare for a meeting with the lawyer, write down details of the situation, identify possible witnesses that might have been available, or consider any credible alibis that might contradict the accusation.
2. Consult with a criminal defense attorney
By hiring someone with enough experience for the defense, defendants can better understand the charges faced and determine the best way to defend against any accusations. When dealing with a truly false accusation, the inclination might be toward faith in the justice system and letting truth win.
Similarly, these same people might believe that hiring an attorney somehow indicates a person’s guilt. This is wrong. Taking the appropriate precautions is important to protect a person’s reputation and perhaps even their freedom. In fact, a criminal defense attorney’s assistance could even prevent formal charges from ever being issued.
3. Say nothing
Regardless of the timing, i.e. before or after being arrested, remember that the right to remain silent is important. Stay quiet and let the lawyer do all the talking.
When handled early and correctly, the lawyer is better able to combat such claims by interviewing the people connected to the case, consulting with experts, and negotiating with prosecutors.
Call (417) 865-2181 to schedule a consultation with Dean Price Law in our Springfield office.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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