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Sentencing for false rape allegations

What is the sentence for false rape allegations in 2024?

False rape allegation cases are relatively uncommon and being sentenced for this offence is even less common. However, when a person is found to be making false allegations with the purpose of damaging the reputation of another, there can still be serious repercussions.

police interview

With regards to sentencing, this guidance can be applied to any other allegations of false sexual offence in addition to false rape allegations. In this type of situation, there is often a consideration of the offences of Perverting the Course of Justice and Wasting Police Time.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of a false rape allegations offence, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get a prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Read more about the offence of Rape.

What is considered with regards to a false rape allegations offence?

The court will look at several considerations when deciding on a sentence.

If you are the victim of false rape allegations, then it is not necessary for your to prove your innocence. It’s the role of the prosecutors to prove that you had non-consensual sex.

The best way that you can protect yourself is to engage a competent lawyer who is experienced in the field of false rape accusations. This lawyer should also be eager to win all their cases.

What happens in a False Rape Accusations investigation?

Unfortunately, many people who are accused of committing a crime opt not to take a solicitor with them to the police station interview. The reason is typically that they don’t want to look like they feeling uncomfortable or awkward when they aren’t guilty of the crime and have nothing to hide.

The trouble with not taking a solicitor to the police interview is that police officers have specialist training. It should also be noted that police officers don’t always operate in a fair and transparent manner.

The police work hard to outmanoeuvre anybody whom they interview. Their role is to get a conviction, so they look to get inconsistencies in what is said to use as evidence against the suspect. They aren’t always seeking the truth of what occurred but rather looking for evidence.

More about false rape accusations

It is not for you to prove your innocence but for the prosecution to prove your guilt.

As there is no time limit when charges are brought, the prosecution can bring charges if they feel it’s in the public interest to do so. Cases of this nature are usually known as historic sexual offence cases.

There may be a chance that the outcome of the trial will be for you to be imprisoned. This could affect the wellbeing of your family. If you’re aren’t able to make an income, they may find it difficult to the required finances to pay the rent or mortgage, pay bills and buy the food they need.

If you are being investigated for any of these offences, it’s critical that you take professional legal advice as quickly as possible.

What is the average sentence for false rape accusation offences?

Depending on what you are charged with, you may receive anything between a community service order and 10 years imprisonment.

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the false rape accusation sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In false rape accusation cases, they may include:

  • Whether the defendant is disabled or mentally ill
  • The age of the defendant, i.e. if they are particularly young their age may affect their level of responsibility
  • If there are previous, relevant or recent convictions
  • Suspect shows a considerable level of genuine remorse
  • A previous good character with exemplary conduct
  • If there is a learning disability or mental disorder linked to this offence
  • There have been demonstrative steps made to address this behaviour

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for false rape accusations with a guilty plea?

In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

 What are some of the other consequences of  false accusations offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an offence. These are extra elements that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that affect a dependent’s finances, property or activity.

The range of ancillary orders for false rape accusations include the following:

Public Interest and Out of Court Disposals

Usually, a prosecution will take place unless there are public interest factors that outweigh those in favour.

In such cases, the police may administer a caution in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service. Each case is decided upon on its facts and circumstances.

In some cases, a conditional caution may be given, although it’s less likely. The starting point on sentencing guidelines is a high-level community order, whereas the starting point on a conditional caution is at a medium level or below.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work undertaken in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of false rape accusations, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

In cases of this nature, sentencing can be influenced by the lawyer. The court can be convinced by using arguments such as there will be damage to a business, loss of job or loss of revenue to an employer for the absence of the employee. If there is a spouse disability or dependency, then the lawyer should put this forward to influence the outcome more positively. It’s important to stress the fact that the accused can be rehabilitated and attend a sex offender treatment programme as an alternative to a short or moderate-term custodial sentence.

Below are notification periods for the convicted to be included in the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR).

How can Stuart Miller Solicitors help?

We understand the turmoil caused by allegations of false rape accusations. You may feel embarrassed, and the charges will inevitably affect your well-being and may even affect your ability to work. Whether the claims are true or not, the Rule of Law and Human Rights Act assumes one to be ‘innocent until proven guilty’. However, you may be feeling like the system is totally against you and presuming you to be guilty until you prove your innocence.

Our sexual offences solicitors have defended sexual offence cases daily for more than 30 years. We are unparalleled experts in this field, requiring careful and skilful lawyering.

Lack of sleep, constant stress, shaking anxiety and worries for your future and your family will destabilise your decision-making capabilities. A legal professional can guide you to make the right statements to ensure your outcome is the most positive possible.

Arrest & Interview

At the outset of an investigation of this nature, it is commonplace for the police to seize all of your electronic devices for analysis. We understand you will feel a sense of embarrassment with such levels of intrusion into your privacy. They may be seized for weeks, months and sometimes even longer.

In this day and age where people rely heavily upon technology, we understand you may feel at a loss without them. It is essential you contact our team of sexual offence solicitors the moment you become aware an investigation is imminent or underway. Not only can our team prepare you for what can be a lengthy and gruelling process, once the investigation is underway, we can put pressure on the police to conclude their investigation as quickly as possible. Our sexual offence solicitors provide representation throughout police interviews and at all stages of the Court process.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our false rape accusations offence lawyers and false domestic violence offences solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for false rape accusations legal help.


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