Every year, an estimated 7,000 people are falsely charged with domestic violence.
Being accused of a serious crime is scary, but being falsely charged with one is an altogether different story. What’s even more difficult is being falsely charged with domestic violence. It’s stressful and can turn your whole life around in ways you never imagined.
Domestic violence allegations can happen to any married couple but are most common in those going through a separation or divorce process. While many cases are supported by evidence, some are unfounded and without proof. When this happens to you, expect to go through various challenges. For example, one of the major issues would be who gets legal and physical custody of the children. Another issue is a court-mandated no-contact or restraining order.
Situations and issues such as the ones mentioned above signify the importance of hiring an attorney. Without an experienced lawyer, working through the legal implications of the false charges will be damaging.
Knowing and understanding how the legal process works and how you can disprove the false charges is vital.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence pertains to any violent or abusive action committed by a family member – the husband or wife, most of the time. It can be spousal or child abuse. Domestic violence is about coercive, manipulative, and threatening behavior. It has two distinct characteristics: a cycle of violence and repetitive psychological and physical abuse. In some cases, domestic violence charges are brought about by a threat and not necessarily a violent act.
There are four forms of domestic violence:
1) Physical Abuse
This form of abuse pertains to any violent act inflicted on another family member, such as slapping, hitting, punching, and biting.
2) Emotional Abuse
These are actions or words that humiliate and invalidate another family member’s self-confidence and self-worth.
3) Sexual Abuse
This pertains to any act or attempts to force the victim to sexual activity or behavior or to have sexual contact without consent.
4) Economic Abuse
Victims of economic abuse are subjected to actions that pressure them into becoming financially dependent.
When you are accused of any of these types of abuse, the implications are damaging. You’ll be subjected to a trial in court, which is going to be emotionally, physically, and financially grueling and exhausting.
Reasons for False Domestic Violence Charges
There are many reasons why spouses or family members falsely accuse other family members of domestic violence. Some of the common ones are:
– To win custody of the children
– To get possession of their domestic partner’s properties
– To get back at a spouse who filed for a divorce
– To make a spouse leave
Aside from spending time in jail and going through a court trial, getting falsely charged with domestic violence can bring you the following consequences:
– You’ll have a criminal record.
– You’ll possibly lose your job.
– Your reputation will be ruined.
What to Do
Hire the services of an attorney
If recurring false domestic violence charges are filed against you, the first thing you need to do is hire a lawyer. Your attorney will help you work on your defense. Together, you gather evidence and witnesses who can provide proof that the charges are all false.
Be sure to choose a lawyer who is trained and experienced in handling domestic violence cases.
Gather medical evidence
Your lawyer and legal team also need to get medical evidence from the victim. They will then find ways to use the evidence to dispute the charges. Your attorney will know how to do this and what requirements and documents are needed.
An expert witness who can explain why and how the victim has broken bones or bruises is also an essential part of the team.
Look for witnesses
If you want to save your honor and reputation, the best way to do it is to find credible witnesses, including character witnesses who can vouch for you. This group should include medical experts and other professionals capable of disproving the prosecution’s charges against you.
Follow court orders
Even if the charges are false, you still have to follow court orders. So, if you have a no-contact or restraining order, you should respect and strictly adhere to it. If the no-contact order states that you need to stay away from your children, keep yourself as far away from them as possible. If the restraining order prevents you from making contact with or going near the accuser, obediently do so and do not agree to meet with him/her. Any violation of this order will negatively impact your case. However, write down or record every request to meet initiated by the accuser as this can prove useful in future court proceedings.
Stay focused and in control
Your lawyer can only do so much, so you have to do your part as well. Stand your ground and stay focused on the case. It’s easier said than done, but you have to be calm and composed throughout the trial.
Also, sticking to your story is essential. Tell the story exactly the way it happened; no more, no less. If you keep changing your story, you’ll create contradicting accounts, which can affect the outcome of the case. Follow your attorney’s instructions and advice.
Every year, an estimated 7,000 people are falsely charged with domestic violence. Do not allow yourself to add to this number. Get in touch with a domestic violence lawyer the minute you are informed of the charges brought up against you.