If someone accuses me of theft, do they need proof that I did what they say I did?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If someone accuses me of theft, do they need proof that I did what they say I did?

My aunt has never liked me and is accusing me of stealing money from my now recently passed away grandmother. She told me so and is trying to press charges. Not only that, she is telling my entire family that I did something that isn’t factual which is a straight attack on my character. If she falsely charges me with this it with hurt my name when I apply for jobs, etc. What should I do? I will never admit on paper to something that didn’t do and something they have no proof of. The court is forcing me to write a letter to her and admit that I stole when I didn’t. This is basically getting me to

incriminate myself or else I will violate. What should I do?

Asked on April 29, 2019 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Another person's testimony or word can be proof it is credible or believable: there is no actual legal requirement for hard evidence. But their testimony must be something they perceived or otherwise have direct personal knowledge of, not merely something they suspect--e.g. seeing you walking out of your grandmother's house with money  and money being missing from your grandmother after you left; seeing you holding her debit card and then money was withdrawn; etc. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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