What can I do if I was wrongly accused of sexually harassing a coworker? 45 Answers as of August 04, 2011

I was questioned by a detective from the local police-station for one of my female co-worker alleges I fondled her breasts and private parts. The truth of the matter is this is a lie but I do not know how to prove this. I gave her rides home and we were friends and joked with one another for a long time. How do I know if I am going to answer Charges in court? and How long does it take for me to go to answer charges?

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Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
After an alleged incident, there is some investigation. If the investigation results in grounds for charges, they are presented to the prosecutor who reviews the investigation results and decides whether or not to issue a warrant. If the Prosecutor thinks that there is enough information, then a warrant is requested, and the Judge reviews the warrant request. If there is enough for the Judge, then the warrant is signed and the criminal charges are made. Typically, if you are charged, you are notified to contact the police or to go to the Court. In some cases, an arrest is made after the issuance of the warrant. Based on what you describe, I would anticipate that you would be contacted or notified and not just arrested. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/25/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, you may or may not be charged with a crime- it may be an internal complaint that will be investigated by your employer. You will find out if criminal charges are filed because you will either be arrested or given a desk appearance ticket to appear in court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/25/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
If the investigation uncovers enough evidence of a crime, the police would present the case to the prosecutor. The prosecutor would decide whether to file charges, when to file, and what charges to file based upon the evidence. Kansas law gives them up to 5 years to charge a crime.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 7/22/2011
Law Office of Mark Bruce
Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
The police are investigating a sexual assault. When they have enough evidence, they'll go to the DA. If they never get enough evidence, they won't. Don't talk to the police. Even though you tell them the truth, they will find a reason to disbelieve you. Your best bet is to keep mum and wait to see if the DA files charges. If so, get a lawyer quick. DO not, under any circumstances, represent yourself on such serious charges.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/22/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    When you receive a notice in the mail from the court or are arrested by the police. It should take about 5 minutes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The allegations against you are very serious. If charged and convicted you will likely be subject to the community notification requirements where you have to register as a sexual offender. I strongly urge you to make no statements to law enforcement and to immediately seek the services of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    First, do not talk to any more cops. I doubt anything good will come from that. There is a reason they talk to you. It is to get satements from you that can be used to hurt you. Second, hire an attorney. He or she can better answer questions about potential consequences.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    I strongly recommend you discuss this matter with an attorney in person, and retain counsel to represent you during the investigation phase. Law enforcement officials are trained to conduct interviews in ways that can elicit responses that are not what client's actually meant to say. Having an attorney assist you with the investigative process not only protects your rights, but may help to resolve the matter prior to any charges being filed.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    You should make no further comments and contact counsel if the police notify you of a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend that you consult with a criminal lawyer in your area as soon as possible concerning all your rights and options. No one can predict how long a criminal investigation may take, but it is important that you learn about all your rights as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Be very careful not to talk to anyone about the case without the assistance of a lawyer. If it is "he said, she said" then a way of showing the prosecutor you are telling the truth is a polygraph. The polygraph is not admissible in court however.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Your first mistake was allowing yourself to be questioned without counsel. NEVER answer police questions without counsel. What you need to do ASAP is retain our office to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    I would suggest that you hire an attorney to help you with this. If a warrant is issued you will be notified and will have to turn yourself into the detention facility and bond out of jail. You really do need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Never answer question without first talking with a lawyer! They can charge you for at least the next two years. Every day they wait is an additional day that makes it less likely they will file any charges. Best to move forward and make sure you're not put in a position to allow this to happen again.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    After the police investigation is complete, a report will be sent to the prosecuting attorney. It will be up to the prosecuting attorney as to whether criminal charges will be filed. There is no time limit on how long the investigation and prosecutor review may take. You would be well advised to seek the advise of a competent criminal defense attorney at this time and not wait until charges are filed, if that were to occur. An attorney may be able to work through the process and would at least be able to keep you advised of what is going on.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    If it is a civil case, your employer is likely the target, but you can be too. The police can take a long time to investigate crimes, so don't think you are out of the woods after a few weeks or months. It's best to have an attorney already hired.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Unfortunately, you already did something that you should not have done which is to talk to a detective about criminal allegations without consulting with an attorney first. Please do not do that again. If they decide to go forward with charges, there will be an arrest warrant prepared. The detective may (or may not) give you a call to allow you to turn yourself in; otherwise, they will probably show up at your job and arrest you there which can be humiliating and cost you your employment depending on your job's policies in place about this sort of thing. You will be processed and bail will be set and you will probably have to post some money in order to get out of jail pending the case. My advice? Call the detective and tell him that if there is an arrest warrant that you would like the opportunity to turn yourself in. Next thing contact a trusted friend or family member and give them a head's up so they can have bail ready to post as soon as you know what it is. Start finding an attorney, make sure it is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has defended sex cases in the past. In Pennsylvania, the law is that a person can be convicted on a "victim's" word alone if believed beyond a reasonable doubt without corroboration, which means that DNA or other evidence is not necessary for a conviction. That is why the attorney you choose will be very important. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has to prove that you did what you are accused of. You can put forth evidence as to your innocents. If the only evidence is she said you said then you need to come across as a good guy to win. There are a lot of things that can be done in that type of case. This all depends on the facts. Get a free consultation from an attorney that you tell the facts to and make your decisions based on that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Nothing may come of this. If, however, you are charged you will likely receive a summons in the mail. If that happens, I would get a good polygrapher to test you. Yes, there are good and bad polygraphers out there. A successful polygraph from a reputable polygrapher would go a long way with a good prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    You should hire an attorney before answering any more questions
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It could be any time. You need to hire an attorney ASAP before you incriminate yourself further. You must understand the seriousness of what you could be facing. In california, any kind of sexual contact results in you having to register as a sex offender for life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Sexual harassment is not a criminal offense, it is a tort claim in civil law. If she is alleging sexual assault though that is another matter. Her credibility will be the biggest issue, your innocence will be on your biggest asset. I would just relax until you hear from either an attorney wanting to sue for sexual harassment or a summons from the police or sheriff's office asking you to come talk to them. If law enforcement does contact you though you should not go without an attorney there to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    If you cooperated with the officer (without help from a lawyer is not a smart move), then the officer should have the courtesy to notify you if he obtains a warrant for your arrest - but frequently officers are not courteous. Frankly, if she says you did it, then chances are very, very great that charges will be filed. It is not up to the officer to decide whether or not to file charges - that would put him in the position of judging credibility when he is only supposed to gather information. You should contact a criminal lawyer in your area and make an appointment to discuss the situation and be prepared for a warrant to issue.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    You need to obtain a criminal defense attorney. The police decide whether there is sufficient evidence to arrest you. Unfortunately there is no time period for this, but usually misdemeanor charges are brought within 12 months of the offense, while felony charges have no statute of limitations in Virginia. The police may ask you to submit to a lie detector test, they may arrest you, or they may do nothing. If there is a complaining witness who insists you committed a crime, then the odds favor an arrest. If you are cooperating they may ask you to come to the station for processing and serve you with an arrest warrant that way. The police also have the option of returning unannounced and arresting you and taking you down to the magistrate's office for an initial bond determination. At this point you should contact a competent criminal defense lawyer for guidance and not discuss the case with anyone, as they could be called as witnesses later.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You could drive yourself crazy worrying about if or when you might get charged. Just go on about your life. Avoid her completely. And deal with any charges by asserting your right to a lawyer right away if and when you are arrested or asked to surrender.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You state in your summary that a female co-worker claimed that you fondled her breasts. You were interviewed by the police and presumably denied that you did anything wrong. That was your first mistake. Because you are not sophisticated enough to realize that you never speak to the police...you always call an attorney or ask for one to be appointed, you have probably already established half their case. You probably admitted to being at the exact location with her as she told the police. That is a fact that the prosecutor would have had to prove with only her word for it unless there were other witnesses. You also gave the police the opportunity to interrogate you and watch your body language, demeanor, and actions to see if you were lying or telling the truth. Either she is a crazy, vindictive liar who is looking to get even for something you said or did, or you are guilty of some or all of what she told the police. It could be that she exaggerated what you said and did, and without that knowledge I cannot advise you as to how to handle the matter. You should retain a criminal attorney and tell him the truth about what happened. Perhaps he can contact the police and prevent your arrest, or at least surrender you if they have a warrant for your arrest.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    One DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. If they question you they are hoping to get statements to prove that you are guilty. You do not want to talk to them without an attorney. They can take a long time to issue a warrant months in fact often go by before a warrant is issued in this type of case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    You do not have to prove anything. The prosecution has that burden of proof. The thing you have to remember is NOT to answer the detective's questions. Politely request a lawyer and he must stop questioning you. I hope it not to late for that and hopefully you denied the charges. The charge being investigated here is called sexual battery. If you are convicted of this you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. I really urge you to get a qualified criminal attorney to represent you in this life-altering case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Will you be charged?? There is no way to predict that. Youll learn the actual charge[s] filed against you if and when you are arrested and appear for arraignment at your first court hearing. The prosecutor can file or amend at any time he feels he can prove additional or different charges. The charges determine how much time would be imposed if convicted. What can you do now? Defend yourself properly. Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to ANYONE about the case except an attorney. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. Youve already violated the first rule of criminal law; you spoke to police.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    You should hire an attorney to contact the police dept to determine the status of their investigation. YOU should NO further contact with the police. Hopefully, your statement will not be used against you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You will know if they decide to charge you. Keep in mind that it is not up to you to prove your innocence or to disprove their case, it will be up to the prosecution to prove your guilt. That is hard to do especially when it's one person's word against another one. Has she made any complaints about you before to her supervisor or to the police? Do you have a theory as to why she would be making this up? Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the matter in more detail. You will especially need to retain one if you are charged.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    As long as the police ate actively investigating, there is no time frame in which they have to file a warrant. The police will advise you if there is a warrant for your arrest. An experienced attorney will assist in your defense
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    The state has the burden of proving your guilt if charges are brought against you; it's not your duty to prove anything. If you are arrested or otherwise served with notice, you will know if you have to go to court. Certain felony charges have to be filed within three years of the date of the alleged offense (alleged assault) and misdemeanors have to be filed within 18 months of the date of the alleged offense.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Wallin & Klarich
    Wallin & Klarich | Stephen D. Klarich
    #1 never ever talk to the police- regardless if you are guilty or not- remain silent is the single most important advice. #2 get an attorney asap to contact the police and the prosecutor to try to influence the decision making process in deciding whether to file a formal charge or not-
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    First things first - STOP talking to the police. Anything you say can only hurt you. Can they charge you based on her word alone? Yes, they can. Will they? That depends on the entire case - her statement, yours, what (if any) other evidence they have, etc. The statute of limitations on most misdemeanors (what you're describing sounds like misdemeanor sexual battery) is a year, so they have up to a year to file charges against you. On felony charges, the statute of limitations is three years for most charges. Never too early to start protecting yourself. Again - do NOT speak to anyone, especially the police, without consulting with an attorney. Most criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations. You may end up not having charges filed against you, but it's worth sitting down with an attorney so you're prepared, should the worst happen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    This kind of accusation can lead to serious criminal charges. I would recommend getting a lawyer right away. DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT A LAWYER! This does not make you look guilty or look like you have something to hide - it makes you look smart, and it is smart. Anything you say can be used against you, regardless of how you meant it. Get yourself a lawyer immediately. A good lawyer may be able to keep any charges from being filed, or if charges do get filed, a lawyer can help you fight them in court and win your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    Hire a really good Oregon criminal defense lawyer
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Sharifi & Baron
    Sharifi & Baron | S. Yossof Sharifi
    HIRE AN ATTORNEY RIGHT NOW. If this occurred in Utah you will be charged with a 2nd degree felony and are facing 1-15 years in prison and having to register on the Sex Offender Registry. You need an experienced attorney on this case right away. The longer you wait, the less and less your attorney is going to be able to do.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    What you are accused of (although apparently not yet charged with) is Indecent Liberties, not sexual harassment which is a civil claim and not normally a crime. For your case, the relevant conduct as described in the statute, 9A.44.100. Indecent liberties as follows: (1) A person is guilty of indecent liberties when he or she knowingly causes another person who is not his or her spouse to have sexual contact with him or her or another: (a) By forcible compulsion. Indecent liberties by forcible compulsion is a class A felony subjecting the Defendant to the possibility of a substantial term of imprisonment and sex offender registration. While these cases can be very difficult, stressful and embarrassing, its always important to remember that in a criminal case the Defendant is*presumed innocent * and it is the State that must prove each and every element of the offense charged *beyond a reasonable doubt*. You should NOT speak with law enforcement until you have discussed the matter with a criminal defense attorney experienced in defending sex offenses. * * *Please note that this is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post represents only the posters opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Most important-Do not speak to the police. If you have, don't sign a statement. Do not offer to take a polygraph to "prove" your innocence. The charges are serious and could land you in prison for a decade or more and make you a convicted sex offender who has to register with the county sheriff. Do you know why the alleged victim is saying these things? Did you have a fight? Were you dating? Did you put her off when she made romantic advances? You really need to carefully examine the last several months of your interaction. Do yourself a huge favor and talk to a criminal defense lawyer ASAP. If you would like to know more, please give me a holler.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    You should hire a lawyer and NOT talk any further to the police unless the lawyer advises you to. Do NOT try to handle this on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/20/2011
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