The state of New Jersey takes a very severe approach to sexual assault accusations. One of the foundations of our country is supposedly “innocent until proven guilty.” The thing is, this seems not to apply once someone makes false sexual assault accusations against you.
Being accused of any crime is frightening. But because the court of public opinion reacts so quickly to sexual assault accusations, this scenario is especially stressful. You face a minimum mandatory prison sentence, being added to a sex offender registry, and negative impacts to every other aspect of your life.
The sooner you take steps to protect yourself, the better your chances of walking away from this with your freedom. That’s why we compiled this guide to navigating false sexual assault accusations in NJ. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
5 Crucial Details About Handling False Sexual Assault Accusations
When you’re accused of a crime you didn’t commit, you might make a few assumptions about what to expect. Many falsely accused people don’t even think an attorney would be beneficial. The truth is, you’ve got a long road ahead of you. Read on for 5 must-know facts.
1. Your Innocence Does Not Guarantee Your Freedom
If you’re innocent, it’s easy to think you can ignore the charges. You might tell yourself it’ll all disappear or work out in the end. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. People who make false accusations rarely come clean of their own accord.
Even worse, courts and law enforcement don’t take sexual assault accusations lightly. While this is great news for victims, it means you’ve got an uphill battle to clear your name. The legal system wants to provide victims with a sense of closure by finding someone guilty and adding a name to the sex offender registry.
Finally, the penalties for sexual assault in New Jersey are very severe—even when compared to crimes like homicide. A sexual assault conviction in NJ carries a prison sentence, requires registry with a public database, impacts your career choices, and alienates you from your community.
If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, you have to start defending yourself immediately. Call NJ Sexual Assault Lawyer John B. Fabriele, III at (732) 246-0888 for your free case evaluation. As a successful criminal defense lawyer with over 25 years of experience, John is available 24/7 to build your defense strategy and work towards reclaiming your freedom.
2. Contacting Your Accuser in Any Way is a Bad Idea
It’s very likely that you know the person making accusations against you. Whether you’re acquaintances or had a long-term relationship, you probably know how to contact them.
But you must not get in touch with them under any circumstances. It doesn’t matter what method—social media, phone calls, going to their house, or making contact in any way will only hurt your case.
Many falsely accused people naively believe they can contact their accuser to work everything out. But apologizing, trying to explain, or asking them to drop the accusations makes it more likely that you’ll go to jail. To the jury and judge, it’ll look like you were trying to intimidate the victim.
Be smart and be safe. Don’t contact your accuser.
3. You are Being Scrutinized by Law Enforcement
Once your accuser files a police report, your behavior will be under a magnifying glass. Local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office will be watching your public behavior, just waiting for a misstep or something that looks bad.
Don’t do anything risky or break any laws. Things that seem simple—like your weekend volunteer work with kids in your town— can easily be misconstrued. Try to have another adult with you in potentially compromising scenarios.
Be on your best behavior in public. If you go out on the town, don’t get boisterous or intoxicated. Keep in mind that social media is public, too. Everything you say in person or online can be twisted by the prosecution in court.
4. You Have Several Ways to Defend Yourself
Even though you should keep a low profile in public, your defense strategy should be aggressive and thorough. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will help you determine which potential defenses will be most effective for you.
You and your lawyer will put together all relevant evidence. Things like your text messages, social media accounts, work history, and more can all be used to prove your innocence. Sometimes proving the accusations are false is fairly cut and dry, but not always.
Cooperate with your attorney and be forthcoming. Together, the two of you will build a custom defense strategy to get the best possible outcome.
5. A Successful and Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer is Your Secret Weapon
It’s easy to think you can represent yourself in your sexual assault case. Especially if you’re innocent, it can be hard to accept that you can’t do it alone. But you have to remember how severe the penalties for sexual assault are in New Jersey.
With the prosecution and legal system hungry for closure, they won’t be easily convinced of your innocence. Working with an attorney who’s familiar with these proceedings is the best way to protect your future.
NJ defense lawyer John B. Fabriele, III has been passionate about helping people since he began law school 25 years ago. Since then, he’s devoted his career to protecting his clients from people who would abuse the system. People like your accuser.
Don’t take a risk with your future. If you or a loved one is facing false sexual assault allegations, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
How Many Sexual Assault Accusations are False in NJ?
Because 2 out of every 3 sexual assaults aren’t reported to the police, it’s tough to say exactly how many New Jersey sexual assault accusations are false.
With that in mind, the data we have shows that false accusations are uncommon. Approximately 2 – 10% of sexual assault accusations are false in NJ, or 2 – 10 out of every 100 reports.
But a low percentage isn’t the same as a zero percentage. Sexual assault accusations can cast a long shadow over every aspect of your life for years to come. From psychological stress to career-altering implications, you’re seriously at risk without the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer to clear your name.
Can You Go to Jail for False Accusations in NJ?
Yes, you can go to jail for making false accusations in a New Jersey police report. The potential jail time depends on the details, though.
If someone files a fictitious police report in New Jersey, they’ve reported a crime that never happened. For example, if someone hurts themselves and files a police report saying they were assaulted by an anonymous stranger, that’s a fictitious report.
Basically, they reported a crime that never happened but made no attempt to pin it on a specific person. In this scenario, that person could be facing up to 6 months in jail.
The second scenario is when someone makes accusations against a specific individual. For example, the individual was assaulted and tells the police it was you—even though this person knows you’re innocent.
In a nutshell, a crime did occur, the victim knows you didn’t do it, but they name you anyway. If this happens, the accuser faces up to 18 months in jail. But remember that in either scenario, you and your lawyer would need proof that the accusations were fictitious or false.
What Should You Do if You are Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault?
If you’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault, you should immediately hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. Being charged with any kind of crime is a terrifying experience. Combine volatile emotions with New Jersey’s complex legal system, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Your freedom is at risk, but taking a plea deal isn’t necessarily the best choice. With a talented and knowledgeable attorney like John B. Fabriele, III by your side, you’ll fare much better in your criminal proceedings.
Don’t leave your future up to chance. Contact us now, day or night, at (732) 246-0888. for your free case evaluation.