Discovering that someone has falsely accused you of sexual assault can turn your whole world upside down. The law takes these allegations very seriously, which is beneficial for victims. However, this can be trouble if you’ve been falsely accused. As such, knowing how to proceed is crucial to doing everything possible to protect yourself. The following blog explores why false allegations occur and the potential penalties you can face if convicted without the help of a Houston sex crimes defense attorney.
Why Do False Accusations Happen?
Unfortunately, false accusations of sexual assault and rape can occur for a number of reasons. For example, a parent looking to obtain full custody of their child may accuse their former spouse of rape against them or their child as a means of revenge. Similarly, someone who regrets a consensual encounter may use rape to deny they were a willing participant.
These false accusations are not only harmful to the accused, but they also diminish the experience of victims and make it more challenging for those who have endured sexual violence to come forward.
What Penalties Could I Face if Convicted?
If convicted of sexual assault, you can expect intense penalties. In Texas, you can face a second-degree felony, warranting two to twenty years in prison. If there are alleged aggravating factors, the charges can elevate to a first-degree felony. This constitutes a minimum of five years in prison, though you could face life behind bars.
Aside from prison time, you can face fines of up to $10,000 and be required to register as a lifelong sex offender. This can have severe ramifications on your life.
If I’m Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault, What Should I Do?
Even if you are positive the accusations against you are false, it is imperative to act quickly to protect yourself in these instances.
If you are placed under arrest, you must invoke your right to remain silent. Though you may think you have nothing to hide, the police often twist the words of those in custody to use against them. As such, you should remain silent until you have legal representation.
You also should not attempt to contact your accuser. Even if they are a friend or family member and you want to clear things up, showing up at their home or calling them may be seen as intimidation and can be held against you in court.
When facing charges of sexual assault, it’s imperative to do everything in your power to remain as calm as possible. Though this is easier said than done, heated interactions with anyone connected to your case can be used against you.
Finally, you’ll want to contact a dedicated and experienced attorney from the Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible. Our firm understands how devastating these charges can be. As such, we will explore every avenue possible to fight for your innocence. Contact our firm today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.