Studies show that anywhere between 2% to 10% of sex crime accusations are false. However, the definition of what constitutes a false accusation is a bit complicated, varying according to context. Therefore, we do not have data to determine an accurate percentage. Some studies define a false accusation as an incorrect or wrong accusation, whereas other studies consider retraction as well. An example of this would be in instances where the victim accused an individual of a sex crime and then retracted that accusation to avoid pressing charges or having to deal with going to court.
The Consequences of Being Convicted of a Sex Crime
If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, it is important to take these charges seriously and do everything in your power to protect yourself. If convicted, you could face consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, and the necessity of having to register yourself as a sex offender. You may also have to face additional shame and pressure from the community you reside in, including your neighbors, friends, and family members.
If you are facing a sex crime conviction, contact our Clearwater criminal defense lawyers to help protect your rights by calling (727) 245-9009.
What Should You Do?
While you may feel overwhelmed, you cannot ignore sex crime allegations as they are taken very seriously in Florida. It is important to take the following steps to ensure your rights are protected:
Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer
As a defendant in a sex crime case you will face severe punishments, regardless of the circumstances of your case. One of these punishments is to register as a sex offender, which could negatively impact your career and ability to own or rent a home in the future. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you create a strategy to protect yourself. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better.
Avoid speaking to the police
You have the right to an attorney, so if you need to speak to someone about the allegations of your case, contact him/her. You may be outraged at the allegations and eager to set the record straight with law enforcement, however; doing so could backfire. Everything you say to law enforcement could be used against you in court.
Keep a record of events
As time goes by, you may forget about the details of your case. As soon as you can, write down a timeline of events that happened before, during, and after the alleged sex crime was committed.
Create a list of witnesses
You should include individuals who were there when the alleged sex crime happened who can vouch for your character and can aid in your defense.
Do not communicate with the alleged victim
While you may want to communicate with your accuser, you could potentially make the situation worse, especially if you make multiple attempts to get in touch with him/her. This behavior could be used against you in court.
Sex Crime Defenses
Consult with your lawyer to determine how to build your defense. The most common defenses to sex crimes include:
If the defendant can prove that the sexual acts were consensual, that reduces the chances of being found guilty of committing a crime. Consent will not be considered a valid defense if the victim was:
- Forced to consent (by duress or deception, including drugs and alcohol)
- Shown to have a mental illness
Insanity or Involuntary Intoxication
If you can prove that you were legally incapable of knowing that your actions were wrong at the time of the alleged crime, you could use insanity as a means of defense.
Additionally, if you can prove you were drugged or intoxicated by someone else, you could use intoxication as a defense to your actions.
Police Abuse or Mistake
Law enforcement may rush to punish someone for a sex crime due to pressure from the victim’s family. This could lead to issues, including convicting you without giving due time to analyze evidence, interview other potential subjects, and question witnesses and experts.
If it is found that your rights were violated, you could have a valid defense to your sex crime charges.