If you or a loved one has been charged with a sexual assault crime in South Carolina that you did not commit, it can be a frightening and stressful experience. While we assume the legal system guarantees that we won't be falsely convicted, unfortunately, false accusations are a common occurrence. Simply being accused of the crime can make you appear guilty in the eyes of a prosecutor, judge, the jury, your peers, and the community.
So what should you do to prove your innocence?
The following are several things to do when falsely accused of sexual assault:
- Understand the magnitude of trouble you are in. Many people who are accused of sexual assault often go into some form of denial and attempt to minimize the legal consequences of the alleged crime—or even fail to deal with them altogether. Failure to take proper, immediate action can result in deeper legal troubles than they originally started.
- Hire an attorney. Secure the legal services of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Keep in mind, there are some attorneys that specialize in specific criminal offenses, such as DUI and theft crimes. Choose a lawyer who has experience handling sex crimes.
- Prepare for the costs of your defense. Taking steps to maintain your innocence can be costly. Expert witnesses may be required, special psychological tests may be necessary, and other evidence may need to be collected. All of this will be expensive, but necessary to provide ample evidence that you have been falsely accused.
- Create a timeline. You need to set up a timeline in writing, starting from day one and going through to the current day in as much detail as you can recall. Write down as many details as possible, whether or not you consider them important.
- Compile a list of witnesses. Consider those who can provide a solid alibi regarding your whereabouts during the night of the alleged incident. On note cards, write down each person's name, address, phone number, their employment, and a brief biography. Additionally, include a brief bit of what they can testify to.
- Understand your rights. If you are questioned by law enforcement, you are not required to say anything. You also have the right to an attorney.