One of the most controversial disputes affecting violence against women and other vulnerable populations is the prevalence of false accusations of sexual assault. Many argue that false reports of sexual assault are significantly overestimated. However, those falsely accused of these harrowing offenses can experience life-long consequences that dramatically impact their relationships, fundamental liberties, and socioeconomic opportunities.
Defending against a false accusation of sexual assault is a challenging yet necessary endeavor. Although the criminal justice system purports that the accused has a presumption of innocence—in reality, those wrongfully accused must often prove their innocence. If you want to learn how to prove innocence when falsely accused of sexual assault, you should contact the experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth.
Sex Crimes in Florida
Florida law classifies sex crimes into three main categories, including:
- Lewd or lascivious acts,
- Sexual battery and rape, and
- Unlawful sex with minors.
Generally, Florida courts refer to rape and assault as sexual battery. Sexual battery includes any non-consensual sexual activity that occurs due to coercion, force, or incapacitation. Sexual assault or battery in Florida can involve oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by or union with the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.
How to Prove Your Innocence When Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault
The penalties for sexual battery in Florida vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the incident. However, prosecutors generally take sexual assault claims seriously, and these offenses can be charged anywhere from a second-degree felony to a capital offense. In addition, sexual assault convictions carry significant collateral consequences. For example, individuals accused or convicted of sexual assault may experience hefty fines, reputational damage, strained familial relationships, mandatory treatment, and entry into Florida’s sex offender registry.
False accusation defenses typically hinge on establishing that the alleged victim had the motivation to fabricate evidence against the accused. Motivations to make a false sexual assault allegation can include revenge, retaliation, or to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody matters.
Individuals who need to clear their name and defend against these egregious accusations should contact an attorney.
You are not supposed to have to prove your innocence in the United States. When convicted of a crime, the burden of proving your guilt rests on the prosecution, as you are presumed innocent until they establish such proof. However, sexual assault typically happens in private. So it can become a game of “he said, she said” where no one can really know who is telling the truth. Therefore, evidence refuting a sexual assault allegation can be crucial in beating these cases.
An attorney can help you by investigating the incident and identifying crucial evidence. Some relevant evidence in these cases includes the following:
- Witness statements, if there were any witnesses;
- Phone records;
- Communication records;
- Social media posts;
- Video footage; and
- Forensic evidence.
A skilled Florida sex crimes attorney will work to locate relevant evidence to refute any aspect of the government’s case. And remember, since it’s the government’s job to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, even the smallest inconsistency can turn the tide in such a case.
Many individuals accused of sexual assault will unknowingly compromise their cases by speaking with the police. Threats or pressure from law enforcement or an alleged victim can elicit fear if you’re suspected of such an act. This fear can feel a lot like coercion—whether that is intentional or not—and many accused people hastily make statements against their best interest when being interrogated. If you are wrongfully accused of sexual assault, it is critical that you remain calm and contact an attorney before speaking with authorities.
I Was Wrongfully Accused of Sexual Assault. How Can I Prove Innocence?
In addition to asserting a false accusation defense, you can prove your innocence by asserting another viable legal defense. The defense a criminal defense lawyer presents depends on the particular nature of the accusation. Some common defenses in these cases include the following:
- Actual innocence,
- Mistaken identity,
- Diminished capacity, and
- Procedural errors.
Yes, you are innocent until proven guilty—but the legal system can be inherently biased. For example, some people assume the worst as soon as sexual assault is mentioned without even having heard a shred of the government’s evidence. With the deck seemingly stacked against you, you need help from a seasoned professional who knows how to best combat false accusations.
Were You Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault?
If you were recently arrested and charged with a Florida sex crime, it’s essential to immediately start working on your defense. At the Orlando criminal defense law firm of Moses & Rooth, we have over a decade of experience handling sexual assault cases and know how to prove innocence when falsely accused of sexual assault. Whether it’s keeping illegally obtained statements out of evidence, calling the alleged victim’s testimony into question, or putting you up on the stand to tell your story, we’re here to help you every step of the way. To schedule a free consultation today, give Moses & Rooth a call at 407-377-0150. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.