What You Need to Know About False Accusations of Sexual AbusePublished: Jul 24, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes
Someone may have accused you of sexually abusing a child in your life – maybe a student, neighbor, relative, or your own child – and as a result, you may be facing your worst nightmare. These types of false allegations can tear apart your family, social life, and career despite your innocence. Naturally, adults want to believe and protect children who may have been abused. Your closest loved ones can begin to distrust you.
The only way to truly combat false accusations of sexual abuse is to obtain skilled and experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 right away to begin working with a child sex abuse attorney.
You Always Have the Right to an Attorney
Whether or not the allegations against you have led to criminal charges, you have the right to legal representation. If you are contacted by the police during a pre-arrest investigation, you do not have to do any more than confirm your name and provide identification. You do not have to let the police into your home, agree to go to the police station, or answer any questions. In fact, you should not answer any questions regarding child sex crime allegations until you have spoken with a defense attorney.
Following an arrest, the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your right to “assistance of counsel.” This means your right to an attorney is immediate. If you have been arrested and the police start to question you, your only responses should be that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and that you want an attorney.
You are Innocent Until Proven Guilty
When you are facing serious – although false – allegations of child sexual abuse, you may be worried about being wrongfully convicted. In this regard, it is important to realize what it means to be innocent until proven guilty. In court, there is the presumption that you are innocent. The prosecution must overcome that presumption and meet the burden of proof before you can be convicted.
In criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that there is no reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. It is not your job to prove you did not commit the crime.
There are Ways to Defend Yourself
When a child or their parents have accused you of child sex abuse, it can seem like nothing you can say or do will help. However, this is not true. There are many ways to defend yourself against such serious false claims.
You should talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney about the specific allegations against you and ways to fight the charges. There may be ways to show the allegations are entirely untrue. For example, you may not have been present when the abuse occurred. You may be able to challenge the medical records that supposedly show abuse occurred.
You can fight a child’s testimony and identification of you as an abuser, since these are notoriously unreliable. False allegations of abuse by children occur more frequently than false accusations among adults. Children can be intentionally and unintentionally coached, develop false memories, and have a difficult time telling the difference between reality and fantasy. All of these possibilities need to be addressed by an expert.
You May be Able to Clean up an Arrest Record
As long as you are not convicted, you should talk with a lawyer about cleaning up your record. If the false allegations led to an arrest, then that arrest is still on your record, and it may come up in circumstances in which you would rather avoid explaining what you went through.
You may be eligible for expungement if the arrest did not lead a criminal charge, the criminal charge was later dismissed, or you were acquitted of the charge in court. Through the expungement process, the record of the arrest, charge, and/or acquittal will be sealed from public view.
Contact a Defense Attorney Today
When you face false accusations of sexual abuse of a child, you should never try to handle the situation yourself. The consequences of a conviction of a child sex offense are severe, including registration as a sex offender. The best chance you have of avoiding criminal charges or of proving your innocence in court is by working with an experienced, skilled, and tenacious defense lawyer.