False accusations happen to people daily, whether at work, home or school. Some accusations are minor and can quickly be resolved. On the other hand, accusations such as sexual harassment, domestic violence and rape are weighty, and society and authorities alike do not take them lightly. A false accusation could cause people to look at you differently and avoid you. It is also not uncommon to hear that people have lost their jobs over an allegation that wasn’t true. In the unfortunate case you find yourself in this predicament, here are the steps you should take.
It is human nature to panic, feel angry or frustrated when you are wrongfully accused. However, you wouldn’t want to let your emotions get out of hand and do something you regret later. Acting on your emotions will also give your accuser the fuel to make you look guiltier. Therefore, you must remain calm and composed throughout the entire procedure. We understand that staying calm is easier said than done, but it would be wise to resist any form of retaliation.
Understand the gravity of the situation
Another grave mistake you could make after being falsely accused would be to shrug it off and continue your routine. A false accusation could ruin your reputation and cause you to lose your professional license. You could also experience social stigma because nobody wants to be associated with you. Therefore, it would be wise to internalize your current situation and understand the potential repercussions. Taking the case with the seriousness it deserves will allow you to be proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure you exonerate yourself or get a lesser punishment.
Avoid contacting the accuser
We understand you might want to give the accuser a piece of your mind in a fit of rage. You might also be itching to confront them and ask why they would spread such defamatory statements about you. However, we strongly advise against communicating with your accuser. The situation could escalate in the blink of an eye and cause more trouble. If you work together and cannot avoid them, ask HR to change your schedule during the investigations.
Prove your innocence by gathering evidence
As soon as you hear about your false accusations, it would be wise to document everything that happened before, during and after the alleged incident. Documentation could include receipts, text messages, emails and phone calls. As you gather evidence, we suggest you approach witnesses who could vouch for your innocence and confirm the validity of your claims. Once you have all the evidence you need, ensure you keep them safe in a folder or document.
Contact your attorney
One of the most critical steps to take in light of a false accusation is to have a criminal defense attorney on your side. It would help to be transparent with your attorney and tell them everything that happened without omitting any slight details. A reasonable attorney will guide you through the tedious process, explain any problematic legal terms and fight for your rights. Beware of attorneys who offer you false promises and stick to the one that tells you the truth, even when the outcome looks bleak.
Watch what you say
The police will clarify that you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you in court. Therefore, we advise you to be cautious whenever you speak. It would also be wise to avoid police interviews unless you have your attorney present. The interrogator might coerce you into making an incriminating statement that could hurt your case and leave you behind bars. Lastly, we urge you to watch what you post on social media or avoid posting altogether until the authorities can solve the case.
Cooperate during the investigation
The police will have to conduct their investigation regardless of whether you are innocent. Refusing to cooperate with the authorities will make you look guilty. If you have nothing to hide, the evidence will soon exonerate you, and the accuser will have no option but to drop the charges against you. Therefore, we urge you to make the investigative process as smooth as possible by sharing your side of the story and being honest.
We guarantee that if you act fast enough, you can exonerate yourself before the accuser gets a chance to press charges against you. We also recommend not talking about the details of the case to anyone else other than your lawyer. With an excellent lawyer and the right strategy, you will clear your name in no time.