How to defend yourself against a false accusation of plagiarism

Stealing someone else's work and passing it off as yours isn't just immoral and unacceptable, it could land you in trouble with a misconduct panel or even a court trial if serious. Unfortunately, the high rate of copied tests recently has prompted examiners and supervisors to be more strict, finding even the smallest of mistakes to accuse someone of plagiarism. If you are the accused and are sure of your innocence, you shouldn't sit around and accept the charges levelled against you without a fight since you could be affected permanently. Instead, you should follow up, learn what you are being accused of and fight it out with the accuser modestly but with enough evidence to absolve you. In case it was your mistake and you really didn't plagiarize for example failing to give references for an academic paper, you can plead guilty of inattention. To defend your case, ensure that the charge is false first, ask for proof of plagiarism, then find and present evidence that your work is original.

Plagiarism could be intentional or unintentional,

Plagiarism could be intentional or unintentional, so you must first look through your work to ensure that you didn't copy or use someone's work before deciding to defend yourself against the accusations. Going through your work word for word to ascertain that nothing was pasted and that whichever source you might have used is clearly cited is vital because you might be mistaken. After ensuring that the piece is perfectly fine and original, you can then find a legal defender to present your case professionally. You and the legal representative should send a notice to the misconduct panel for schoolwork, or the court in case of other disciplines like music and art. A day will be set for your hearing and you should have the perfect arguments to convince the panels that you are not in the wrong.

At the hearing, ask for proof

At the hearing, ask for proof of plagiarism like a similar report, same writing style and others through your lawyer, then study the proof carefully to not miss anything. During the study, compare what you allegedly stole with your original work and try finding any points of difference, or those worth defending like mistakes in proofreading or submitting a wrong version. If you truly presented a similar report or writing style to the one you are accused of stealing, that shouldn't cause alarm since it could only be a coincidence. Instead, look for and consider other easy to ignore mistakes and ascertain that they wouldn't cause any major challenges once you start defending yourself, and find ways to beat anything alarming.

After studying the proof, you must defend yourself by word of mouth and try to reason out with the panel to prove that the accusations made against you are false. In case your error was paraphrasing without crediting the original owner, or poor referencing, you can argue through your lawyer that it was simply a normal error that does not equal to plagiarism. If the version of work you presented was wrong, you lost the original reference or gave work that hadn't been proofread well, you should argue that it is a case of inattention. Accepting the small mistake is better than trying to fight for a complete acquittal which could only anger the panel or make you appear guilty without regrets.

To end everything, you can finally present the evidence you have that will absolve you of the charges, and present the clear differences between your work and the supposedly stolen work. If you had been accused of stealing an idea from the internet or another book, defend your piece with evidence, for example cited sources or the paraphrases, provided you gave references. In case you "stole" a fellow student's work, show the written or typed drafts and rough works you did before writing the final draft, especially dated ones. If you are found innocent with all the tangible proof you have, you can finally ask for a remark if you were expelled from school, or reinstatement if you had been fired.

A claim of plagiarism cannot just get you expelled from school or fired from work, it can get you charged and imprisoned. For these reasons, you should do your best to fight it if it's made against you, as long as you are sure of your innocence. As long as you follow the correct processes and fight without tiring, your life will not just go back to normal but get better after absolution.

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