With the recent trend of “Me Too,” in which sexual assault survivors, mostly women, have shared their stories, many people have come forward with accusations. Being accused of sexual assault is very serious, since it can be charged as a Class 1 felony in Illinois. People have the right to tell their stories, but what if the perpetrator is wrongly identified?
Sexual Assault Charges in Illinois
Under Illinois law, criminal sexual assault is described as performing forceful penetration of a victim, including in cases when the perpetrator knew that the victim could not give consent or did not understand the situation, when the victim was a family member under the age of 18 years old, or when the victim was between the ages of 13 and 18 was in the trusting care of a perpetrator who is at least 17 years old. Aggravated criminal sexual assault, which is a Class X felony, includes the above, but requires the use or threat of a weapon, the infliction of bodily harm, endangerment of the victim’s life, commission of sexual assault while committing another felony, or a victim who was at least 60 years old, had a physical disability, or was intoxicated with substances without their consent or medical purpose.
False Accusations of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a life-altering experience for a survivor, and while victims are encouraged to come forward with information, a case of mistaken identity can negatively impact the accused. It can be shocking to be accused of a felony crime, and you may wonder what steps you should take to defend yourself against these charges and clear your name. If you have been falsely accused, you should start by writing a statement of the situation from your point of view. Try to remember every detail about your relationship or experience with the accuser.
You should also be ready to provide evidence. This may include DNA, which ultimately can prove your innocence, or information showing that you were not present when the assault took place. Contact any witnesses to the alleged offense or events before or after it took place, as well as anyone who can testify that you were in another location at the time. Providing as much information as possible not only shows transparency but may prove a case of mistaken identity.
If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault, it is important to get immediate legal representation to fight your case. Sexual assault survivors deserve and receive sympathy, and it is easy to point fingers after an allegation. However, evidence and an experienced attorney will help clear your name. Even if you are innocent, it is important to take steps to prepare a strong defense.
Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney
Although all survivors deserve closure after a sexual assault, false accusations or mistaken identity can ruin the life of the accused. Contact a DuPage County sex crimes defense lawyer today to learn about your options for addressing criminal charges and clearing your name. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.