False accusations are a very real problem and can cause lasting damage. We all hope that our justice system is strong enough to keep lies and other false representations from influencing a judge or jury, but that is not always how things work out. In everything from divorce proceedings to personal injury cases to criminal matters, false accusations can alter the outcome of any trial.
The good news is that there are several steps you can take if you are facing false accusations in court. In fact, with the right strategy, you can not only overcome them, but hold your accuser accountable for their lies.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
The most important step you can take to fighting back against false accusations in court is hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer will know how best to advise you and what to do to overcome the false accusations.
Some things to look for in a lawyer include:
- Vast courtroom experience
- Great communication skills
- A total commitment to defending you
Together, you and your lawyer can develop a strategy to fight back against the false accusations and even hold your accuser accountable.
Evidence is going to be key to proving that the accusations against you are false. Talk to your lawyer about the accusations and any relevant details. Some things to keep an eye out for include:
- Police records and background checks for yourself and your accuser
- Video or pictures that prove the accusations are false
- Witness testimony that proves your innocence
- Witness testimony or any evidence that indicates your accuser is of a questionable moral character
Any evidence you can gather that might make the judge or jury question the truthfulness of your accuser could go a long way in keeping the false accusations from causing real harm.
You Can Impeach Witnesses
One strategy that can be very effective is impeaching witnesses that are lying. This is why gathering evidence is such an important step.
If you have evidence that directly proves a witness is lying, you and your lawyer use this to your advantage.
For example, let’s say you’re accused of assault. The state has a witness who says that they saw you hit another person outside of a popular bar downtown. Your attorney looks into this claim and digs into the witness’s background a little bit. As it turns out, your lawyer discovers that the witness was nowhere near the bar at the time of the alleged crime. There’s a time-stamped video of the witness buying a lottery ticket at a gas station on the other side town. Your attorney can use this evidence to impeach the witness and dismantle that part of the state’s case.
Do Not Confront Your Accuser in the Courtroom or Anywhere Else
It is important to let the accusations play themselves out in the courtroom. If the judge or jury hears that you have confronted your accuser outside of the courtroom or see you confront him or her in the courtroom, you could lose their sympathy. It could even look like you are intimidating your accuser which could make you look guilty.
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to remain silent. This is true both when interacting with law enforcement and when in a courtroom. Often, those who have been falsely accused think that if they can just explain themselves to the jury they can make them understand.
Because of the emotional nature of trials and false accusations, this is an extremely risky course of action. On the witness stand, there is the possibility you could look guilty or lose your cool and again lose sympathy.
Sue Your Accuser for Defamation or Libel
Finally, you can sue your accuser for defamation or libel. Under Kentucky law, it is illegal to make false accusations against a person or cause them harm or humiliation by speaking lies about them.
By suing your false accuser you will communicate to them that you will not put up with their lies. It will also show them that you are serious about maintaining your good name. A libel or defamation suit could also be used later on as a bargaining chip. You and your lawyer could promise to drop the suit if your accuser agrees to recant and drop their accusations against you.