Contact Us for a Free Consultation (213) 542-0979


Why Do People Make False Allegations In Sex Crime Cases?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Apr 01, 2020

There are many reasons people make false allegations. One of them is that they were intoxicated when they hooked up with someone. Maybe they were both drunk and using drugs and the person is trying to figure out exactly what happened.

Maybe the other person is rude to her and doesn't make sure that she gets home safely or call her again, so she assumes something bad happened. Many times, there is some sort of a custody dispute and a sexual abuse allegation is raised either against of the parents, which ends up being completely false.

I've talked to a lot of detectives, having handled sex crime cases for the last 26 years in Los Angeles County, and they know that there are scenarios where people make up sexual allegations.

Sometimes, a person puts themselves in a bad situation and in order to justify their actions to their significant other or spouse later, they make an accusation of sexual assault. Some people genuinely don't remember what happened and fill in the blanks with information that suggests that something happened to them.

Potential Pretrial Motions to Help Defend a Sex Crime Case

There are a number of different pretrial motions that can be filed in a sex crime case, depending on what evidence the prosecutors have. You, as a defense attorney, must discuss with your client what rights may have been violated while the police investigated their case. Was their search warrant valid? Was your arrest lawful?

Another big piece of evidence is a defendant's own statement. The jury really latches onto that in a criminal case, so lot of times, we will file motions saying that the police violated the individual's Miranda rights.

This would be because while the person was in custody, they were asking direct questions and they didn't read the Miranda rights. Sometimes, they read the person their Miranda rights and the person asked for a lawyer, but the police kept questioning them.

Why Do People Make False Allegations In Sex Crime Cases?

A situation where many people make statements in a sex crime case is during what is called a pretext phone call. That is when the police get the alleged victim to call the accused person and record the conversation to try to get incriminating statements.

They don't realize they're being recorded and may offer an apology just to make the victim feel better or to make the case go away.

There are many ways to challenge the prosecutor's evidence and many motions that can be filed pre-trial, especially if they try to bring other witnesses against your client for past incidences. Then, you're going to want to file a motion to try to block that evidence from coming in before the trial.

Should I To Submit To A Polygraph Test In My Sex Crime Case?

I've seen a lot of sex crime cases where the police say that if you can pass a polygraph test, they won't charge you with the crime. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to pass many of these polygraph tests.

It really just gives the police a free opportunity to get answers from you that they might later use to incriminate you. Polygraph evidence is not even allowed in court because it is not reliable.

Many times, they will use the fact that you failed the test to intimidate you. They will start asking you specific questions to get you to start making incriminating statements. In my opinion, Polygraph tests are useless.

When it comes to sex crimes and children, it is a very political area. The first thing I want to do is sit down with my client, in the privacy of my office, and really get a feel for the case.

I want to know whether or not we're going to fight the case and claim that the person is not guilty. I want to know what evidence the prosecutors have against my client. Is it strong evidence or weak evidence?

Once we settle the issue of whether we're going to fight the case, I will know how to handle it. If we're not going to fight the case, then we're probably not going to have to worry about angering the prosecutors by trying to cross-examine a child during a preliminary hearing or a trial.

If we make the decision that these are false allegations and we're going to take the case to trial, then I would have to take a very tactical approach to cross-examining an alleged child victim because if it is not done the right way, it can have a very bad impact on the defense of the case.

The judge and the prosecutor are very sensitive to protecting child witnesses, when it comes to sex related offenses. Having experience dealing with these type of cases means I know how to handle these type of cases. I know which strategy to employ but the first thing I want to do is get on the same page with my client.

Consent as a Defense in California Sex Crime Cases

Consent cases are definitely winnable. Obviously, it is going to depend on the evidence. I'm going to get all the evidence that helps us and all the evidence that hurts us, and then we're going to sit down and work on dealing with the evidence that hurts us.

One of the key things that we have in a he-said-she-said case is the presumption of innocence. Let the prosecutors try to prove their case; the person is presumed to be innocent.

Another big thing we have going for us is there is a jury instruction that says if you can't break the tie, then the person is innocent. The prosecution has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can't, then they lose.

There is a code in California (Evidence Code 1108) that allows prosecutors to show that an accused person has a propensity to commit these types of crimes. If your client has committed this type of offense before, then you have to file a motion to try to block the evidence from coming in.

However, in today's society, it is difficult to block that evidence from coming in and that is something you definitely have to consider before you move forward in a sex related defense case. Consent is definitely a defense that can be used, with the right evidence.

I often see cases where two people meet on an online dating app, get together for drinks, end up having sex, and one party feels regretful the next day. She claims that she was too intoxicated to consent.

Fighting California Sex Crime Cases

Unless they've got some other evidence, like injuries consistent with force, they don't have much of an argument. You really need to go over all the evidence on both sides and then, you make an educated decision on exactly how you're going to handle the defense.

It is a complicated case when one or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the alleged event. The police realize that it is a huge problem and a lot of times, they will not prosecute cases where both parties were equally intoxicated.

An alleged victim who was intoxicated makes it a tough road for the prosecutors to win the case. That is why they try to get other evidence, including DNA or experts to confirm injuries that are consistent with someone who was sexually assaulted.

Then, they have evidence that they can use to bolster the alleged victim's story. They can get video evidence and get other witnesses involved. Another thing they can get the accused person's own statement, when they do a pretext phone call. That is a huge way that they break the tie in a case.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.