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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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 and money being missing from your grandmother after you left; seeing you holding her debit card and then money was withdrawn; etc. 


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