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Can You Press Charges Against Someone for Making False Accusations?

Key Takeaways

  • If someone falsely accuses you of a crime in Virginia, it can significantly harm your reputation and disrupt your life.
  • Document all interactions and gather evidence like texts, emails, and witness statements to protect yourself.
  • Stop engaging with the accuser and seek immediate legal advice from a Virginia criminal attorney.
  • You can take legal action, such as filing a defamation lawsuit or a malicious prosecution claim.
  • False accusations can lead to severe penalties for the accuser, including jail time and hefty fines.
  • Randall & Bruch, PC can defend you and help you recover your life and reputation if you’ve been falsely accused.

If someone falsely accuses you of a crime in Virginia, it can be terrifying and leave you feeling unnecessarily guilty — and angry. You may also have questions about what you should do next, especially if you’ve been accused of something as serious as domestic violence. Unfortunately, it’s not rare for people to falsely accuse others of a crime, and despite being innocent until proven guilty, the damage to your character is often already done. False accusations can cost you your job, your ability to carry a firearm, your divorce and custody proceedings, and much more.

If you are in this situation, continue reading to see what you should do. If you have already been falsely accused of a crime, contact the attorneys at Randall & Bruch, PC to see how we can help.

What to Do if Someone Makes a False Claim Against You

If someone falsely accuses you of a crime, you must respond appropriately to protect your reputation and legal standing. The steps you should take include:

  • Collect any available information about the false statements or accusations, including dates, times, phone calls, texts, and documents related to the claim.
  • Document, document, document. Keep detailed records of all interactions with the person accusing you. Also, keep detailed records of any witnesses. Print emails, texts, social media messages, and other relevant correspondence that may help your case.
  • Immediately seek legal advice from a Virginia criminal attorney when someone makes false accusations against you.
  • Stop engaging with the person making false claims, as that person could use your interactions against you. Your attorney can handle necessary communications to help prevent misunderstandings and additional allegations.
  • Gather alibis, witness statements, surveillance footage, and other evidence that could prove someone is making false allegations against you. Your attorney can help you determine what evidence is compelling and how to obtain it legally.
  • Consider taking legal action against someone for making false allegations. You may be able to file a defamation lawsuit if the false claim damages your career, reputation, or personal life.
  • Cooperate with authorities if law enforcement or other authorities become involved, but do so under the advice of your attorney.

By following these steps, you can start to address false claims legally and effectively.

What Legal Recourse is Available in Virginia for Being Falsely Accused of a Crime?

In Virginia, several legal avenues are available if someone makes a false claim against you. Some of the forms of legal recourse include:

File a Defamation Lawsuit

Defamation involves false statements that damage your reputation. If the false statements are public, you can file a defamation lawsuit for libel (written false statements) or slander (spoken false statements).

You must be able to prove the statements were false, either intentionally or negligently, and that they caused harm to your livelihood or reputation. Your attorney can help evaluate the likelihood of your case’s success and whether you should pursue compensatory damages.

File a Malicious Prosecution Claim

If someone accuses you of wrongdoing and files legal action against you, you can file a malicious prosecution claim once you are found not guilty. The bar for malicious prosecution is high — you must show that your accuser started the legal proceedings knowing that you were innocent and they weaponized the legal system against you. You could recover lost wages, legal expenses, emotional distress, and other related damages.

File a Civil Lawsuit for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

If the false accusations against you cause severe emotional distress, you can file a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. You must be able to show your accuser’s actions were outlandish and were intended to cause emotional harm.

Press Criminal Charges

In some cases, the person falsely accusing you may have committed a criminal offense, such as filing a false police report or committing perjury. You cannot press criminal charges against someone for false charges or perjury. That is up to the Commonwealth of Virginia to decide.

Your attorney can help you choose the appropriate legal option based on your circumstances.

Legal and Practical Advice

hand touching the shoulder of a person seeming to comfort them.

If you are accused of making a false statement, it is crucial to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities of Virginia’s legal system, defend your rights, and potentially mitigate the consequences. Misunderstandings and miscommunications can sometimes be mistaken for intentional deceit, making professional legal representation essential.

The False Claims Act protects state and local government entities and public funds against people filing false claims for payment.

What is the Punishment for False Accusations in Virginia?

Knowingly giving a false report to a police officer in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and/or a fine of up to $2,500

In Virginia, knowingly giving a false report to a police officer on the basis of race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin is a Class 6 felony. Class 6 felonies are punishable by either:

  • Imprisonment for 1-5 years
  • Confinement in jail for up to 12 months and/or up to a $2,500 fine at the discretion of the jury or court

Lying under oath is called perjury. People who lie under oath, give conflicting testimony at different times under oath, or who induce another person to commit perjury are guilty of a Class 5 felony. This is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment for 1-10 years
  • Confinement in jail for up to 12 months and/or up to a $2,500 fine at the discretion of the jury or court

Why Clients Choose Randall & Bruch, PC

When choosing a criminal defense lawyer in Virginia, you want someone with experience handling false information claims like yours. Legal counsel can explain your legal rights and help you through the complexity of filing a case under Virginia law.


“Nothing but the best! Jack may seem a little high-strung, but believe me when I tell you the comfort he brings watching him in action. Jack is able to navigate the legal system in a way only a true professional who loves their job can. I personally would not want to oppose him and will use him for any level needs possible. There is a magical feeling watching someone like him work. His staff is amazing as well and always willing to help. As with any profession, you are only as good as your staff, and Jack has a GREAT staff that pulls the strings so his clients do not have to. Jack and his team were able to finally bring a true peace to my family, which I will never forget.” — Andrew S.

“I was very satisfied with this law firm and its staff. Lori was very courteous and a pleasure to work with. She made sure I received the links I needed in a timely fashion and kept me posted. The attorneys were magnificent as we received the outcome I so desperately desired.” — Aaron D.

Additional Resources

If you are served with a protective order, make sure you understand the order. A Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you understand the restrictions and comply with the order. You will need legal help to fight a protective order that has false allegations. Protective orders can also negatively impact your custody arrangements in the long term, so you must handle any false allegations as quickly as possible.

Additionally, you must handle social media appropriately. After an arrest for false allegations, you should stop posting on social media — tell your friends and family that you are taking a break, but do not delete your accounts.

Defend Your Image Against False Accusations

False accusations can significantly damage your reputation and disrupt your life, especially domestic violence accusations. To defend your image, you must take swift action. It is also crucial to maintain professionalism and composure throughout the process. Our first goal as your criminal defense attorney is to protect you from being found guilty of something you didn’t do. Then, we can help you address the accusations and hold your accuser accountable for weaponizing the justice system against you.

If you’re facing false accusations, contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney at Randall & Bruch, PC today by calling 757-742-6115 or using our convenient online contact form. Let’s discuss your options and start building a solid defense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Press Charges for a False CPS Report in Virginia?

If someone files a false CPS report against you, a law firm can help you fight the false allegations. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly make false reports.

What is a Defamation of Character Lawsuit?

You can file a defamation of character lawsuit when you are wrongfully accused of something and it damages your character. You must prove that someone published false statements about you and that the statement was harmful.

jack t randall

Written By Jack T. Randall


As lifelong resident of Western Tidewater, Jack Randall is a local attorney who wants the best results for his clients. He is an experienced and aggressive attorney with focus on family law, criminal and traffic law, as well as personal injury law cases.