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Criminal Consequences for Catfishing

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Dec 12, 2019

This whole concept of catfishing has to do with somebody giving fake information to another person and trying to lure them into a date or whatever circumstance they're trying to do. 

Usually, you see it done through social media where an individual will send, for example, different pictures of themselves and further information. Then they will meet a person on a dating app. The person on the other end either goes along with it or sees the person, realizes they've been catfished, and decides they're not going to have any further interactions with them.

Deceiving Someone With Fake Online Information

Where I see it being a problem on the criminal level in Los Angeles, for example, with so many dating apps and a lot of people, is people will catfish somebody, go on a date with them, try to make the moves on them, and that's where things go wrong.

So, if you end up catfishing someone, having sex with them, and then they turn around and say that you forced yourself on them.

For example, or you slipped them something in their drink, or you raped them. At the same time, they were unconscious; you're going to be in a much worse position trying to argue that you didn't do any of those things and that everything was consensual because you're starting on the tricky foot.  So, that's where the whole catfishing concept can be a problem as far as people looking at criminal charges.

In other words, the concept of catfishing I have not seen anybody being charged with any criminal offenses for that specific act, but when you do other things surrounded by that, they're going to use the whole catfishing concept to say that you're not legitimate.

Therefore, it's much likely that you raped somebody or did some sexual battery on them, versus if you just met somebody on a dating app, tried to put the moves on them, it didn't work out, and you went on your separate ways, there's nothing criminal about that.

So, if you're involved in a catfishing scenario, and you are on the wrong end of it s far as the police investigating you, you've been arrested, you've been charged, you're being accused of committing some sexual offense — you want to hire an attorney right away.

That attorney can act as a buffer between you and law enforcement should they come knocking and want to talk to you or call you on the telephone.

Law Enforcement Investigation

Also, often, what I see law enforcement do in these catfishing situations is they will have the alleged victim call in.  They will tape-record it. 

They will give the victim questions to ask in an attempt to incriminate you by confronting you with what you supposedly did and then try to get you to either admit or deny something in an awkward way where it appears that you're involved in criminal activity.

But having an attorney right from the beginning is crucial because, without an attorney, you're left bare to deal with the police and the other side by yourself where people said you said things that you might not have declared. You can potentially incriminate yourself and give the piece of the puzzle that the police are missing to arrest you, charge you, put a bail on you and take you into custody.

So, getting an attorney on your case immediately when you suspect you might be investigating or when you even have a charge pending against you related to some incident where you were supposedly catfishing someone is crucial if you want to end up with the best result.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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