When most of us think of a bad breakup, we imagine a bit of temporary drama that fades when you meet someone new. No one ever expects to be fighting for their freedom after being falsely accused of rape.
False accusations of rape ruin reputations and can lead to imprisonment, loss of employment, and social isolation. If your ex has accused you of rape, Berlin Defense can help. Our Tulsa law office helps clients navigate the Oklahoma criminal justice system after being charged with sex crimes or serious violent crimes—and our record of success speaks for itself.
The Prevalence of False Accusations
Estimates on the prevalence of false accusations differ greatly, but a comprehensive review conducted by Lisak et al. found that 2% to 10% of rape reports were proven false or baseless after a thorough investigation. You may feel like you're being unfairly targeted and your world is crashing down, but you're not alone.
Possible Motives for Making a False Claim
There are a variety of reasons why your ex might fabricate a rape allegation, including revenge, a desire for attention, mental health issues, and attempting to avoid responsibility for their own actions.
Sexual assault allegations can be a form of retaliation for perceived wrongs or slights. If you initiated the breakup and your ex still wanted to be together, false allegations might be punishment for what they see as a betrayal.
In some cases, people fabricate stories about a non-consensual sexual encounter to gain sympathy from others. Accusing you of a crime is a surefire way for your ex to be viewed as the wronged party in the breakup, regardless of why your relationship ended.
Mental Health Issues
Certain mental health conditions can lead individuals to make false claims about consensual sex being rape. Mental health issues that are left untreated increase the risk of this type of behavior.
Accusing another person of rape can sometimes be used as an excuse for one's own actions, such as cheating on a partner or failing at work or school responsibilities.
The Impact of False Allegations
Even if you're not convicted, false accusations can have lasting effects. The consequences faced by those wrongly accused include emotional trauma, social stigma, and career setbacks. If you can prove your ex intentionally made false allegations, you may have grounds for a civil suit to provide you with financial compensation for the harm you've suffered.
Being falsely accused of a crime as serious as rape or sexual assault can lead to feelings of shame, anger, depression, and anxiety. You may find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort or acting out in other ways that put your long-term well-being at risk.
Relationships with your loved ones may be strained as they grapple with the allegations and their aftermath. Friends and family may not know who to believe or prefer to distance themselves from the matter entirely. Even after being cleared of charges, you may continue to face skepticism from friends, family members, employers, or potential romantic partners.
A false accusation can result in job loss or difficulty finding new employment due to lingering doubts about your character. If you are a professional with a high-profile job, false allegations can put the career you've worked hard to build at risk.
Penalties for a First-Degree Rape Conviction in Oklahoma
False accusations after a breakup typically result in a first-degree rape charge. Oklahoma Code section 21-1114: First- and Second-Degree Rape states:
- Rape or rape by instrumentation in the first degree shall include:
- Rape committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age upon a person under fourteen (14) years of age
- Rape committed upon a person incapable through mental illness or any unsoundness of mind of giving legal consent regardless of the age of the person committing the crime
- Rape accomplished where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit
- Rape accomplished where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused
- Rape accomplished with any person by means of force, violence, or threats of force or violence accompanied by apparent power of execution regardless of the age of the person committing the crime
- Rape by instrumentation regardless of the age of the victim or the age of the person committing the crime
- In all other cases, rape is rape in the second degree.
If you are found guilty of first-degree rape in Oklahoma, you face a minimum of five years in prison and could potentially be looking at a life sentence depending on the details of your case. A conviction would also require you to register as a sex offender.
Fighting False Rape Accusations With Guidance From an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Facing false rape allegations can be a daunting experience, so having an experienced legal professional to navigate the complexities of such cases is essential. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will know how to:
- Analyze evidence and identify inconsistencies in the accuser's story
- Gather supporting documentation, including witness statements, medical records, and other relevant information
- Navigate pre-trial proceedings, such as hearings on motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges
- Negotiate plea deals when appropriate
- Present an argument at trial that challenges the prosecution's assertions
If you'd like to learn more about what to expect as your case progresses, please request a copy of our free guide, Fighting the Guilt Machine. This resource outlines how sex crimes are prosecuted in Oklahoma and explains how to avoid some of the most common mistakes I see my clients making.
Have You Been Charged With A Serious Crime In The Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious crime in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.