September 10, 2020 | Criminal Defense
False accusations can have serious consequences in both criminal and civil cases and are leveled regularly by individuals seeking to get custody of children. Individuals also make false accusations in cases regarding domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace, and other cases where clear evidence might be lacking.
If you have been hit with false accusations it can be disorienting and you might even feel tempted to panic or shoot back false accusations of your own. While truth doesn’t always win the day in court, if you remember the following five things when you are up against false accusations, it will help you immensely in revealing the truth and keeping your name in good standing.
1) You Can Remain Silent
There is a reason you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in court. The same is true of what you say when others make false accusations against you. In the heat of the moment, it is possible you might let slip language or statements that could cause you real damage in court.
It is a much better policy to remain calm and wait until you hire a lawyer and let them do the talking for you.
2) You Should Hire a Lawyer
The next thing you should remember if you are up against false accusations is that you should hire an attorney. A good lawyer will know exactly what to do in your situation and will advise you accordingly.
It is also important that the lawyer you hire has experience dealing with false accusations. A good lawyer who knows the libel and defamation laws in your state can also be very beneficial.
3) You Should Gather Evidence
As soon as possible, you and your lawyer must begin gathering evidence to fight back against the false accusations. Some things you will most likely want to take during this step include:
- interviewing witnesses
- gathering physical evidence
- getting your hands on background records
- gathering information that will attack the credibility of your false accuser and the veracity of their accusations
You don’t have to wait for charges to be brought or for a suit to be filed to begin gathering evidence. In fact, the sooner you begin gathering evidence, the more likely you will be able to effectively counteract the false accusations with the truth.
4) False Accusations are Illegal
It is also extremely important to remember that false accusations are illegal. The state of Ohio has one of the broadest definitions of defamation in the country and allows for legal action to be taken when one person defames another.
If the false accusation made against you is particularly egregious, you may want to consider counter suing for libel or defamation. However, if you want to do so, you need to remember that the statute of limitations for defamation in Ohio is one year.
5) You Can Impeach a Witness Who Makes False Accusations
If a witness in a trial makes a false accusation against you, one strategy you and your lawyer can try is impeaching the witness. One way to do this is to present evidence in court that brings the credibility of the witness into question or shows that they have been less than truthful in their testimony.
Another way to bring a witness’s credibility or knowledge of a subject into question is during cross-examination at which time your attorney can prove a witness made false accusations by confronting them with the truth.
Trying to impeach a witness for making false accusations is another reason why it is important to gather as much evidence as you can as early as you can. If the accusations are false, there is a decent chance a witness will be caught in their lie if you have gathered evidence that proves them wrong.
Defending Yourself Against False Accusations
As you can see, defending yourself against false accusations can be complex and requires the skill and experience of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. If you have been falsely accused of something, don’t try to clear your name or reveal the truth by yourself. Instead, remain silent, hire a lawyer, gather evidence, consider taking legal action against your accuser, and follow the strategy laid out by your lawyer.
To learn more, call our Cincinnati criminal defense law firm at (513) 333-0014 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.