It is a serious matter when someone makes a false accusation in court. People make false accusations for a number of reasons, especially those dealing with family law matters like contentious divorces or child custody battles. It is important to know what to do next if you find yourself in this type of situation.
False accusations are untrue statements that are unsubstantiated by any evidence. They are usually made by someone who has something to gain from the lie.
They can also be made to exact revenge on a person to make them suffer in court. Regardless of the reason, you need to know how to defend yourself against a false accusation.
1) Stay Calm
When someone makes a false accusation against you it can be hard to know what to do. However, no matter what you do, you must remember to remain calm. You do not want to lose your cool react too quickly. Any overreaction could potentially hurt your defense or ruin your reputation in court.
Do not talk to people about the false accusation. Anyone you talk to could be called as a witness in the future. You may be approached by police officers if the false allegations against you are criminal.
Unless you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. If you are arrested, make sure to request a lawyer before discussing any details with the police.
Finally, you must cut off all communication with the person who is falsely accusing you. Do not go to them and try to work out the issue on your own.
While this may seem like a good idea, you need to have representation and documentation for any interaction with the person once legal claims have been filed against you in court.
2) Make a Plan
Before you make your defense known, get organized and make a plan. The type of plan you make depends on the false allegation against you. For example, a false allegation that could alter your child custody rights would need a different plan than a false accusation that you sexually assaulted a coworker.
To get organized, dissect the false allegations. Who is saying them, what are they saying, and why are they saying it? Having answers to these questions will help you understand the false accusations and know how to fight them. Write down any history you can remember with your accuser, especially if it relates to the false accusation.
You should also begin keeping a written record of anything that is related to the false accusation. For example, make a note of everything that is said if the person who is falsely accusing you gives you a phone call.
Write down when the call happened and what was said. You can also include how it made you feel and what your responses were.
3) Gather Evidence
Once you have a plan in place, start to gather evidence. This will be any proof you have that you did not do the thing that you are being falsely accused of.
Start with documentation that can be verified through outside sources. This would include medical records, receipts, phone records, or bank accounts.
Text messages, social media posts or comments, and witness statements can also be used to help your case.
Remember that things can be deleted quickly off of the internet or additional privacy can be added to stop people from seeing certain things. Make sure to take an immediate screenshot of anything that relates to your case.
4) Talk to an Attorney
You may already have a family law attorney if you are accused of a false accusation in court. If you do not have one, your next step should be to talk to one. Let them know the facts of your case, who is making the false allegation, and what they are saying about you that is untrue.
A lawyer will be able to look at the plan you have made and the evidence you have gathered. From that information, they will be able to help you create an in-depth legal plan that will clear your name of the false allegation.
This may include getting criminal charges dropped, asking for the accuser to retract their allegation, or filing a civil claim against your accuser.
It is important to remember that making false claims in court is a crime. If proven to be false, the person making the claims against you will be punished by law.
In California, making a false accusation about a family law matter like false domestic violence or child abuse claims in a child custody case is punished by fines. A lawyer can also help you identify the ways that your accuser might be punished by the court for making false allegations.