Being the subject of any criminal accusation can be incredibly stressful. If you have been falsely accused of something as serious and as damaging as sexual assault, and more particularly, the crime of rape, the consequences can be exceptionally dire. Due to the highly serious consequences of a rape accusation, it’s extremely important to take the allegations against you seriously.
What to Do:
CONTACT A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY - The first and most important thing to do is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney is usually not the attorney who wrote your parents’ wills, or the lawyer who handled your divorce. An experienced criminal defense attorney should exclusively do criminal defense work. Time is of the essence, but do not rush to get just any lawyer. In a case this serious, make sure you find the right attorney.
SECURE YOUR CELL PHONE - You should protect your cell phone. The cell phone is the most sought-after piece of physical evidence in criminal cases. Make sure that it is secure and in a safe place. You should not voluntarily provide law enforcement with your phone or your passcode.
PRESERVE EVIDENCE / MAKE WITNESS LIST - This could be the ticket from the movie you went to or the receipt from the bar you were at the night before. Collect the clothing you were wearing and secure it in a safe place. Make a list of potential witnesses. Do not keep this list on you. Rather, put the list preferably with a criminal defense attorney, but if not, with a family member or friend.
EXPECT A VISIT FROM THE POLICE - The police are most likely going to try to speak with you. You can expect a knock at the door or a phone call. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER speak with law enforcement without an attorney present. You should firmly tell them you will not speak with them without an attorney. If pressured to talk or told they will take you to jail right now, simply say “I WANT MY LAWYER” and then shut up.
What Not to Do:
DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE - Under no circumstances should you ever speak to law enforcement without an attorney present, and this is especially true if you have been accused of the crime of rape.
DO NOT COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR ACCUSER - Do not communicate in any way. If you get a text that says, “Hey, what happened last night?” or “Why did you do this?” or “Do you know you hurt me?” Do not respond in any way, shape or form. Do not take a phone call from the accuser. Most likely the call is being recorded by the accuser or by the police and they are trying to entrap you.
DO NOT TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS - Do not try to build a case by talking to your friends. Don’t state, “Oh, this girl is going to falsely accuse me.” or “She’s going to say this...” Don’t spin a story - it will backfire. The police are going to interview the same people you talk to and if you tell multiple stories it’s simply going to look like you’re lying. The people you talk to may also forget exactly what you said and may misquote you or confuse facts.
DO NOT TEXT, POST, OR PUT ANYTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA - Don’t reach out on social media and say, “I’m being falsely accused.” Don’t try to plead your innocence to the world. It will not help you - it will only backfire.
DO NOT DO YOUR OWN INVESTIGATION - Let the investigator that your experienced criminal defense attorney hires do that job. Don’t do it yourself.
If you follow these tips, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, it will reduce the chances that you will be wrongfully convicted.