How can you defend yourself against false accusations in the UK?

5th October 2020 | Legal Insights & Resources|

Reviewed by Nick Titchener on 23rd August 2023

Nick Titchener headshot

Nick Titchener

Managing Partner

In Brief

Cases involving false allegations of any kind are often fraught with emotion and highly distressing, but the most important thing that you can do is secure the assistance of an experienced specialist solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. This can truly make the difference when it comes to protecting your reputation and your future. As easy as it is, it is also crucial to try and not get too caught up in the emotional turmoil of such a case, and to avoid having contact  with your accuser at every stage of the process.

Being falsely accused of a crime is one of the most traumatic and stressful experiences that a person can go through. The process of making efforts to exonerate and clear yourself can take a severe toll on your personal and professional life, bringing emotional turmoil on both yourself and those closest to you. However, it is vital that you do not lose hope and that you ensure you are surrounded by the very best legal professionals from day one. 

With the right legal representation, you can go into court proceedings with confidence that the truth will come out. At Lawtons we will help you without  prejudice, working alongside you to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the accusation and gathering evidence to provide the most robust defence possible . 

We will guide you through the entire legal process towards the best possible outcome. If you have been falsely accused of an offence, do not delay in giving our team of specialist solicitors a call on 0333 577 0522, and taking the first step towards protecting your future. 

Have you been falsely accused of an offence? 

People are falsely accused of many criminal offences, some of which can often make news headlines, especially where they concern sexual offences. These can range from rape to historic sex crimes and allegations of child abuse. Whatever the nature of the accusation, it is deeply upsetting to have your integrity and innocence so publicly called into question. It can be particularly upsetting and unsettling to be wondering why someone has now made such a false allegation, and understanding this can be very important.

There are many reasons why someone can mistakenly or falsely be accused of an offence. The accuser can be  committing a crime themselves if they truly do not have reasonable grounds for believing the offence took place and make the allegation intending to pervert the course of justice. 

The most important thing to remember is that the assistance of an expert legal practitioner at every stage of the investigation can be the key to fully understanding the charges against you and safeguarding your reputation. You should not take part in any form of police interview without first having secured the services of an experienced solicitor, as this can make a significant difference to the eventual outcome of your case.

Just because you are innocent does not mean that you don’t need legal advice. Arguably it is even more important to get it to ensure that your rights and your future are protected, as you have so much more to lose. 

Can you defend yourself against false accusations in the UK?

It is vital not to be taken in by the misconception that innocent people do not need legal representation. Trying to defend yourself against false allegations, no matter how confident you are of your innocence, not only places you at greater risk of conviction but could incriminate you further in situations such as an interview under caution, where you may not be fully aware of the implications of what you say. 

You should never take a false accusation lightly or underestimate the possible consequences of the crime of which you are accused – taking action to protect yourself at the earliest opportunity will give you the best possible defence. 

What should you remember if you are falsely accused of an offence?

Excellent legal representation is not the only important element to successfully navigating through the legal process and securing an acquittal when falsely accused of a crime. You should also make every effort not to let your emotions get the better of you at each stage of the proceedings. This can be difficult as there are few things more distressing than a false accusation, but taking a measured and calm approach is always advisable.

It is also of paramount importance that you avoid all contact with your accuser. You may wish to confront them, ask them what the basis of their accusation is or talk them into dropping the charges but this can only lead to further problems or accusations of perverting the course of justice. While legal proceedings are ongoing, no form of communication – whether electronic or face-to-face – can be permitted.

At Lawtons we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal proceedings that can follow a false accusation, working in your best interests at every step and minimising the emotional strain on you and your family. Do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your case.

Is making a false accusation a crime?

Yes, making a false accusation is a crime – as is lying to the police. Should this occur, false allegations are taken very seriously.

So, can you press charges against someone for making a false accusation?

Yes, anybody making a false accusation can be charged and convicted of wasting police time. Alternatively, they might be charged with a more serious offence of perverting the course of justice. Anybody found guilty of such a crime could face a maximum sentence of six months in prison for wasting police time or much longer if convicted of perverting the course of justice.. 

Being accused of a crime always causes stress and can also lead to reputational damage or loss of earnings, so it’s only natural to want some form of restitution. 

Now you might be thinking: can I sue for false accusations in the UK?

Well, the answer is yes. In certain circumstances, you might be able to take civil action for false accusations you would need specialist advice in connection with this.

About the author

Nick Titchener is director and solicitor advocate of Lawtons Solicitors. He has vast experience in some of the most difficult legal cases including violence, assault and sexual offences.His meticulous approach means that he thrives on challenging and complicated cases. 

Nick also oversees the day-to-day management of Lawtons, which has branches across London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Cambridge and Northampton.

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