The mere accusation of rape can ruin an innocent person’s life. Whether the accusation was made from maliciousness or simply misidentification, the fact remains that an innocent person is now on trial for a crime they did not commit. Like any criminal case, it is vital that an accused person find a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles that can represent them.
Most Common Reasons for False Allegations
For many people, it can be especially frustrating to be falsely accused of such a terrible crime. Unfortunately, this is an issue that does occur, and there are several reasons for why you may find yourself in this situation. Do not believe that because you are innocent you do not need an attorney because unfortunately many innocent people have been convicted of rape.
Some of the most common reasons a person may accuse another of rape are:
- Misidentification– The victim may be unable to accurately identify who committed the crime and for some reason they have placed the blame on you.
- Revenge – A false accusation of rape can destroy a person’s life, which is precisely why it is often used by individuals who are extremely angry at the person they accuse.
- Guilt – An individual may live with regret or guilt over consensual actions and later choose to instead view the sexual encounter as rape to cover that up.
How to Proceed After a False Accusation of Rape
One of the first things you should do when you are falsely accused of rape is to hire an experienced rape defense attorney. Outside of that, there are other steps you can take to help your case.
You should at all costs avoid the person accusing you of rape. It is understandable that hearing that you have been accused of rape will probably make you extremely emotional and angry. However, it is extremely important that you do not indulge in these emotions until your case has been safely resolved. You can make the situation worse if you attempt to confront your accuser.
In some situations, it can be impossible to completely avoid your accuser. For example, if you have a child custody agreement then insist upon having a third party present during custody exchanges, personally make a record all exchanges or ask that exchanges now be conducted at a police station.
Another example of being unable to avoid your accuser is if they are a coworker or fellow student. Usually, in these situations HR or school administration will be involved and will try to find a way to make sure that you do not need to be in the same setting as each other.
No matter what, you should never try to engage in a conversation with the other person regarding their accusations.
Another step you can take is to make a detailed account of what happened and write it down for your attorney. The longer you wait, the less focused your memories will be. By writing down exactly what occurred as soon as this allegation is made you have a better chance of remembering something that can discredit the case against you.
California Rape Laws
In California, the most common statute used in rape cases is found under Penal Law Section 261. To sum it up, any sexual act between two individuals where one individual did not consent or is incapable of consent is rape. Incapacity can be caused by disability, either mental or physical. Consent usually ties in with the use of force or violence by one person against the other.
The other large category of rape cases occurs if one person was unable to resist because they were on a substance or were unconscious.
You should be aware that there is a distinction when rape occurs between spouses and when the individuals are not married to each other. While spousal rape is still a crime, it is covered under a separate law – Penal Law Section 262.
As you can see, there are many intricacies in California’s rape laws and having a lawyer representing you can be the difference in losing your freedom or returning to your regular life.
Defenses To False Accusations Of Rape
One of the most common defenses to a false allegation of rape is that there was consent to the sexual activity. You should be careful though, because a counter to this defense is that there was initial consent that was later revoked. This means that your accuser is stating that although they did consensually engage in sex with you, they changed their mind and that you refused to stop. To prove that this situation occurred the accuser must show that they took back their consent in a way (verbally or through actions) that a reasonable person would understand and yet you continued having intercourse.
As with all criminal cases, the prosecution does have the burden of proving that a person committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. So, any type of doubt presented by your attorney will strengthen your case that you are innocent. A few ways in which your attorney can create reasonable doubt is by:
- Presenting evidence that there was a relationship between you and the other person.
- Showing how the other person had other motives in making this accusation (ex. revenge).
- Bringing forth other individuals, who were present, that can attest to your innocence or may be actual perpetrators of the crime
If you have been falsely accused of rape, you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight these charges. Get a FREE consultation today by either filling out the form to your right or calling 310-997-4688.