Victims of sexual assault and violence continue to speak out about their personal experiences. While it is great that these victims are finding the courage to open up about very intimate details of their lives, this movement has also created a culture that can foster false allegations. During a time when all allegations of sexual misconduct are taken very seriously, false allegations can prove to be devastating. When you are falsely accused of rape or other acts of sexual misconduct it is important to act quickly. Call San Diego rape defense lawyer Vikas Bajaj to learn more.
Why It is Important to Fight False Rape Allegations
Rape is one of the most serious crimes in San Diego. The act of forcing another person to have sex with you, or taking advantage of someone who cannot consent to the activity, carries serious consequences. When the allegations of rape are false it is important to fight back in order to avoid these (and other) consequences.
As a felony, rape is punishable by multiple years in a California state prison (3-8, when no aggravating factors are present), steep fines (up to $25,000), court-ordered counseling, and probation. Since rape is a violent sex offense, a conviction will also require you to register as a sex offender. Living with a criminal record makes life tough enough. When you are forced to also register as a sex offender life will become even more difficult. Employers will not want to hire you. Landlords will not want you in the neighborhood. Your ability to participate in your child’s life will be limited because you will generally not be allowed to set foot near school grounds. If a restraining order is also a part of your criminal sentence your ability to work, live, and travel through your own neighborhood can be compromised.
The crime of rape has significant civil and social consequences, as well. These consequences, which are often referred to as collateral consequences, are not necessarily related to your specific crime. For example, as a convicted felon you will find that you:
- Cannot work in certain fields, including education, healthcare, and government;
- Cannot participate in California welfare programs;
- Lose your right to own or possess a firearm; and/or
- Lose your professional licenses, resulting in strict limitations on your income.
The crime of rape also carries its own distinct social stigma. You may find that your friends, family, and neighbors may be hesitant to talk to you once you have been accused or convicted of the crime. Your social status and happiness can be ruined by a false allegation. It is important to fight to preserve your future and reputation.
Limited Evidence in Rape Cases
Rape cases can be very difficult to prosecute. This is often because there is a very limited amount of physical evidence. Instead, the prosecutor is forced to rely on the arguments of the accuser and the accused. Each party will have strikingly different recollections, and each will argue facts that support their own case. Who will a court believe, the alleged victim or the person who is accused of committing a heinous crime? The victim generally has a greater obligation to prove that the rape happened. You can only be convicted when the prosecution has proved your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to determine which party’s story is more likely, the court will review any relevant evidence, including:
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Photographs and video footage supporting or disproving a party’s stories;
- Phone, text message, and social media records; and
- The circumstances of the relationship between the parties.
It is important to know that California’s rape shield law prevents you from bringing up your accuser’s sexual history as a defense. In the eyes of the court, a victim’s prior sexual acts, consenting relationships, and decisions have no bearing on the immediate issue at hand. There are very limited exceptions to this rule but, in general, you will be prohibited from bringing this up. Your defense must be based on other valid evidence that can support your innocence.
Experienced Attorneys Defending Rape Charges
False rape allegations can be devastating. At the very worst, they can result in a conviction that lands you in jail and burdens you with a criminal record for the rest of your life. A better scenario allows you to beat the allegations in criminal court, but still makes you vulnerable to unfair social stigmas. It is important to fight any false allegations that are made against you. Hiring a San Diego rape defense attorney will increase your chances of a positive outcome. Call the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC today to schedule a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, explain your rights, and outline a strategy for defense.
Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC
1230 Columbia Street Suite 565
San Diego, CA 92101