It sounds like a nightmare: suddenly, you find yourself falsely accused of crimes of a sexual nature.
Your mind races. You feel deeply embarrassed and distressed. You may inexplicably feel like you’ve done something wrong, even though you haven’t.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not so uncommon.
False accusations of sexual crimes can occur during divorce proceedings, child custody battles, after breakups, and in the workplace.
These false allegations can harm your reputation, your career and your mental health, and failing to fight them properly can result in terrible consequences, including jail time.
So, if you find yourself accused of a sexual crime like sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, rape, statutory rape, child molestation or pornography, indecent exposure, prostitution or another sex offense, you need to take certain steps to protect yourself quickly.
Here’s what to do—and what not to do—if you are falsely accused of a sex crime in Georgia.
First, Don’t Panic
It is important to remember that you are not the first person to ever be falsely accused, nor is it necessarily your fault that you’re facing these disturbing allegations.
False accusations are, unfortunately, all too common in contentious divorce and custody cases, and they can be wielded as a retaliation tactic in other areas of life.
Any good Cherokee County criminal defense lawyer will tell you that they have seen many false sexual allegations cases like yours before, and that acquittals or reduced charges are quite common with a good defense.
Do Not Destroy Evidence
Your first thought may be to think like an investigator and get rid of anything that might make you look bad, like correspondence or receipts for purchases.
Don’t do that.
Looking like you’ve tried to cover something up can be much worse than having certain things come out.
Destroying evidence can be a crime in itself, and more than a few people have gotten in more trouble for the coverup than the actual crime.
Know Your Rights
Your most important right when facing sexual allegations or criminal challenges is the right to remain silent—and you should take advantage of it.
Do not talk to the police or give a statement without a lawyer present, even if you want to clear things up by giving them honest information you think will show you’re innocent.
Doing so may hurt your defense. It’s better to play it safe than wind up sorry.
Seek Legal Counsel Immediately
The most important thing you can do to protect your freedom and good name is to immediately hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in sexual crimes cases in Georgia.
A local criminal defense attorney with experience defending in sex cases can help you navigate this difficult time and advise you on what you should and should not do at every step.
Most importantly, your defense lawyer will build a strong case to prove your innocence and work to ensure justice is dispensed fairly and in accordance with Georgia’s laws.
Moreover, if law enforcement officers did not discharge their duties properly, your lawyer will vigorously pursue that issue in the interest of your defense, as well.
Defense Against Defamation and Malicious Prosecution
Making false allegations is a crime, and false statements, false claims or false police reports can be grounds for criminal charges of their own.
Depending on the nature and consequences of the false accusations against you, your lawyer may want to seek charges for filing a false statement, or for law enforcement malfeasance.
Furthermore, if you are exonerated, your lawyer may choose to sue for defamation of character compensation or damages on your behalf.
How to Choose the Right Sexual Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney
When choosing a criminal defense lawyer, you want to look for three main things: experience, experience and experience.
That’s right, experience with sexual crimes cases specifically is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a sex crimes defense lawyer.
Why? Because sex crimes cases bring many unique challenges, including potential judicial and juror bias.
Experience in sex crimes cases is also important because the consequences—a felony conviction, jail time, a ruined reputation, the sex offender registry—can be so very severe.
A good criminal defender in a sexual crimes case should have:
- Experience in a variety of sexual crimes cases
- Experience with cases similar to yours
- Experience in the local courts
- Rich resources, including a solid legal research team
- Access to trusted specialists like private investigators and forensic experts
- A winning track record
To choose a good attorney for your case, sit down for a consultation and talk to prospective attorneys about their expertise and experience with sexual crimes cases.
You want someone who will listen to your side of the story and provide advice and support to guide you.
And, of course, you want someone who will build an ironclad legal strategy backed by solid research and strong evidence.
Have You Been Falsely Accused of a Sexual Crime in Georgia?
Speights Law can help. Our criminal defense attorneys specialize in sex crime cases, and we will fight tenaciously to defend your rights. Our winning track record in even the most complex cases speaks for itself.
Don’t wait. Call us now at 770-479-1500 for a confidential consultation.
Archie Speights is a co-founder and lead criminal law attorney of Speights Law in Cherokee County. He is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who handles an assortment of major felony cases, including murder, sex crimes, aggravated assault, and drug crimes in the state of Georgia. To contact Archie, please visit our contact page.