In a perfect world, a person who is falsely accused of a crime could explain to the court that the allegations are not true, provide evidence, then be cleared. In reality, it does not always work out that way. In fact, many individuals have been wrongfully convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison. When criminal charges involve a sexual offense, being accused, even wrongfully so, can have a devastating consequences.
The emotional trauma associated with false allegations can be severe. Sadly, one young man took his own life after being acquitted on rape charges. The trauma experienced by people who have been falsely accused of violent crimes, particularly sexual assault, has been compared to the trauma that survivors of war or disaster often experience.
The effects of false accusations are extreme and long-lasting
Being brought before the court on criminal charges of a sexual offense is not only a serious legal matter, it can cause the accused individual to feel ashamed, even if the allegations are false. Many times, cases involving sexual assault are published in the news, which can damage a person’s reputation before he or she has even had a chance to contest the accusations. It is not uncommon for falsely accused people to develop severe life-long trust issues; in fact, some people find it difficult to interact with others at all after going through this type of experience.
Things may get worse before they get better
It can take weeks, even months to fully adjudicate a sexual assault case. Forming an alliance with an experienced criminal defense attorney from the start may help expedite proceedings, especially if the attorney in question determines grounds for requesting a case dismissal or to bar a portion or all of the prosecution’s evidence from being presented at trial. DNA evidence may be helpful in presenting a defense, as well. An attorney can help an accused individual to protect his or her rights and fight to achieve the best possible result.