Sex crimes, like sexual assault, are taken very seriously in the criminal justice system. While this is great for victims, it can have detrimental impacts on the lives of those who have been falsely accused of these heinous crimes. While false accusations are not common, they do happen. Many who are in this troubling situation are unsure how to proceed. As such, it’s essential to contact a Cobb County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The following blog explores what you must know if you’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Sexual Assault?
If you are charged and convicted of sexual assault charges, you can expect to face severe penalties. Generally, these crimes in Georgia are classified as sexual assault, sexual battery, and aggravated sexual battery. The penalties for these offenses are as follows:
- Sexual Assault: Between one and twenty-five years in prison, with a fine of up to $100,000. If the victim is under 16, they will spend, at minimum, 25 years in prison. If the victim is 14-16 and the defendant is 18 or older within four years of the victim’s age, they face a misdemeanor charge.
- Sexual Battery: If convicted for the first time, this is an aggravated misdemeanor. However, subsequent convictions warrant a felony charge carrying one to five years in prison.
- Aggravated Sexual Battery: At minimum, twenty-five years in prison, followed by lifelong probation.
If convicted of any of these crimes, you will face mandatory registration as a sex offender.
What Are the Possible Defenses to Show I Am Innocent?
If you have been accused and arrested for sexual assault or battery charges, understanding the defenses you can use to illustrate your innocence is crucial.
One possible defense, and unfortunately a driving force behind many false allegations, is that the accuser is seeking revenge or has malicious intentions. Whether this is an ex-partner scored over a breakup or a spouse looking to receive full custody of their children during a divorce, these allegations are damaging for the falsely accused.
Another defense is to prove the encounter was consensual. Unfortunately, whether it’s fear of repercussions from parents, a guilty spouse who cheated, or someone who regrets their decision, some may claim a consensual act was assault. However, if you can prove you had consent, you can protect yourself.
If I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault, How Should I Proceed?
If you discover that you were falsely accused of sexual assault, rape, or battery, it’s essential to proceed with caution. Anything you do or say can be taken into consideration, so you must remain as calm and collected as possible, especially when interacting with police. Though you are likely rightfully angry, avoid contacting your accuser, as this can be seen as intimidation.
Do not speak to the police without an attorney present. Though you may feel like you have nothing to hide, law enforcement may twist your words to make you appear guilty.
When you need help proving your innocence, Miller Law Practice can assist. Contact our dedicated firm to learn how we will fight for you during these harrowing times.