Being falsely accused of a sex crime is an especially traumatic event, especially if the accusation is leveled by a loved one or by someone else you trusted. If the accusation is publicized, being tried in the “guilty until proven innocent” court of public opinion can be even more traumatic. It is precisely for these reasons that you will likely need the early assistance of an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer in order to beat the charges and clear your name.
Types of Sex Crimes
Texas has dozens of sex-related crimes on its books, including but not limited to:
- sexual assault
- indecency with a child
- indecent exposure
- public lewdness
- improper relationship between educator and student
Common Motivations for False Allegations
There are many different reasons why someone might falsely accuse someone of a sex crime. Some of the most common are:
- A spouse or ex-spouse concocts an allegation to gain advantage in child custody proceedings.
- A jilted lover concocts an allegation as a form of revenge.
- A teenager concocts an allegation against a resented step-parent.
- An overzealous child psychologist or counselor influences a child to make a false allegation.
- School officials overreact to a statement uttered by a child.
- A child makes up a story to get attention.
Penalties for sex offenses are typically severe, although they vary widely depending on the exact nature of the offense:
- Two years to life imprisonment (depending on the particular charge, the existence of any prior offenses, and surrounding circumstances).
- A fine of up to $10,000.
- Requirement to publicly register as a sex offender with the local law enforcement authorities of your residence..
Formulating a defense against a false allegation of sexual misconduct is highly fact-dependent – in other words, every case is different. Nevertheless, the following defensive strategies are common:
- Uncovering the accuser’s motives for the false allegation. In some cases, such as an allegation leveled in the midst of a child custody dispute, the motivation may be transparent. In other cases some investigation may be required.
- Aggressively cross-examining the accuser to uncover inconsistencies in his/her story. Liars are seldom able to concoct stories that lack inconsistencies and contradictions. In some sex offense cases, however, legal limitations restrict the ability to cross-examine an accuser (when the accuser is a child, for example).
- Uncovering evidence of any previous false allegations made by the accuser.
- Conducting a psychological evaluation of the accuser.
- Challenging and suppressing tainted evidence, such as statements made by the accuser under the undue evidence of a third party.
- Establishing that the accuser actually consented to an allegedly non-consensual sexual encounter.
Houston criminal defense attorney Mario Madrid has been practicing law for nearly 20 years, and his experience includes positions as both a prosecutor and a judge. He has been certified as a specialist in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an honor granted to only about ten percent of Texas criminal defense attorneys. If you have been charged with a sex crime in the Houston area, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.