Can I Sue for Being Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault?

Posted on Friday, September 1st, 2023 at 9:00 am    

Can I Sue for Being Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault

False accusations of sexual assault can all but ruin your life, impacting your personal and professional reputation whether you ever see the inside of a courtroom. You may feel helpless to stop the chatter and repair your tarnished public reputation. What can you do to rebuild your life? Can you sue someone in Illinois for falsely accusing you of a crime?

These profound questions need to be answered by an aggressive criminal defense team. At Bruno Law Offices, our premier criminal defense firm focuses on helping individuals defend themselves from criminal accusations and mitigating the consequences of those accusations. However, the question as to whether you can sue someone for being falsely accused of sexual assault is complicated and highly fact-specific.

What can you do if you are falsely accused of sexual assault? You can turn to our criminal defense team for help.

Can You Sue Someone for Falsely Accusing You of a Crime?

What does it mean to falsely report a case of sexual assault? A false report means an individual tells law enforcement that a crime has been committed. When an investigation conducted by law enforcement factually proves the incident never occurred, that is an example of a false report. A false report is different from a baseless report. A baseless report means an incident occurred, but the circumstances do not meet the legal elements of committing a crime.

What is the percentage of false sexual assault accusations? Authentic false reports of sexual assault are rare. Many studies produced statistics indicating that false reports only occur in two to eight percent of sexual assault cases. However, false sexual assault reports can have devastating repercussions. What can you do to get your life back? Can you sue someone in Illinois for falsely accusing you of a crime? The answer is complicated.

First, you must prove that the accusations against you are false. You must also show that the false nature of the allegations caused you significant harm and financial losses. For example, you can seek compensation via a lawsuit if you can show you were fired from your position and lost wages because of the false accusations or that you cannot find meaningful employment because of the damage to your professional reputation.

One of the legal avenues you can take is to sue for defamation. Defamation happens when someone makes a false statement that hurts your personal and professional reputation. False accusations of criminal activity may constitute defamation in some cases. There are two types of false allegations: slander and libel. Slander occurs when an individual makes oral defaming statements. Libel occurs when an individual makes false statements in writing. Slander and libel may seem like straightforward concepts, but defamation lawsuits can be highly challenging to pursue without the help of a knowledgeable and experienced Illinois attorney.

You can file a civil lawsuit based on malicious prosecution in specific situations. However, you can only seek compensation for malicious prosecution if the false allegations against you resulted in a criminal or civil case being brought against you based on those false allegations. Again, an experienced Illinois attorney needs to review the specific circumstances of your unique situation to advise you on which legal path forward offers the best opportunity for a favorable outcome for your situation.

How Do You Defend Yourself from False Accusations?

Can I Sue for Being Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault

The first and most crucial step in defending yourself from false accusations is to consult an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately, many people falsely accused of crimes are under the misconception that hiring an attorney serves to make them look guilty. Meanwhile, “cooperating” with law enforcement makes them look helpful and can help prove their innocence.

If you are facing false allegations of sexual assault or other criminal offenses, exercise your right to remain silent. Do not speak with law enforcement until you have legal representation. What you say to the police can and will be used against you. Law enforcement employs strategic techniques to get you to say things that may incriminate you, even if you are innocent.

Additionally, do not talk to the “victim.” Never attempt to contact them either directly or through text or social media platforms. Again, remaining silent is always your best course of action. Remaining off social media platforms is also advisable until your attorney resolves the situation. The temptation to clear the air or get your story out there to protect yourself is substantial. This strategy seldom benefits you or clears up any misconceptions. Law enforcement or an opposing attorney can twist your words and potentially use them against you.

You Need the Help of a Premier Illinois Criminal Defense Firm

How much money can you pursue for false accusations? Again, the answer depends on the circumstances of your case and your financial losses. You need the help only a premier Illinois criminal defense firm can provide. At Bruno Law Offices, we are ready to defend you vigorously. Call our Illinois office today at (217) 328-6000 to arrange a confidential legal consultation.