Domestic violence is a serious social problem. But the way that the criminal justice system deals with this problem can make things worse. In many cases, people face false accusations of domestic violence.
These false allegations can happen during divorces, legal separations, and custody battles. Angry ex-partners sometimes level false allegations to secure more positive outcomes for themselves.
In the following post, we will examine the ways that a defense attorney can help if you have been accused of domestic violence. Even when they are fabricated, allegations of domestic abuse are incredibly serious.
Gender and Domestic Abuse Issues
The issue of gender is front and center in conversations about domestic abuse. Many women’s advocacy groups highlight the fact that women are the primary victims of domestic abuse.
This approach to the issue of domestic violence has garnered plenty of national media attention. In some cases, these groups have succeeded in passing legislation.
One of the most prominent examples is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Many argue that the VAWA includes gender-specific language and appeals to outdated gender norms.
Women do experience domestic violence much more often than men. But it is important to understand that many men and women face false allegations of abuse.
Some statutes written with good intentions rely on outdated ideas about power dynamics between people of different genders.
False Domestic Violence Accusations
Many people criticize the ways that the justice system responds to allegations of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, false accusations are often believed by the courts.
As noted above, untruthful claims like these are sometimes used to secure favorable outcomes in divorces or child custody proceedings.
This problem is made worse because the phrase “domestic abuse” can be interpreted broadly. Under most statutes, “domestic abuse” means unlawful and intentional infliction of injury, harm, or assault.
But some statutes include the additional category of “fear of harm.” This is a very subjective phrase. It can be difficult to undermine the claim that someone felt “fear of harm.”
This provides an enormous amount of power to those making accusations, whether those accusations prove to be true or false.
Effects of False Allegations
When a court believes false accusations of domestic abuse, it can carry significant consequences for the accused. They may forfeit certain legal rights or abilities.
In most cases, the standard of proof for domestic abuse is a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, the accuser only needs to show that it is more likely than not that the domestic violence occurred.
Courts will often accept accusations of domestic abuse with very little evidence. In these cases, a judge may issue a restraining order against the person being accused.
This can put incredible pressure on the accused person. However, if you face a restraining order, a criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the allegations.
Restraining orders can result in the following consequences:
- Loss of physical custody of children
- Inability to secure legal dispute mediation
- No contact with the accuser on penalty of criminal charges
- Prohibition of returning to a shared residence
- Restricted visitations with children
- Mandatory anger management
- Restrictions of certain civil liberties
Obviously, false allegations of domestic violence can carry severe consequences. If you have been accused of domestic abuse, contact an accomplished criminal defense lawyer.
An attorney will carefully review the facts of your case. They will use all of the available evidence to build the strongest defense possible for you. If you are facing allegations, you have the right to a strong legal defense.
Contesting an accusation of domestic violence is a complex process. A skilled criminal defense attorney can ensure that you effectively fight against flimsy evidence and arguments.
Protections Against Domestic Violence Allegations
Anyone can be a victim of false allegations. Unfortunately, domestic abuse claims require only the lowest legal standard of evidence.
If you are concerned about the possibility of facing domestic violence allegations, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you to enact the following strategies:
If you experience disputes and conflict in your marriage or partnership, de-escalation is crucial. Never do anything that could be interpreted as a threat of harm.
Whenever possible, engage in calm and reasonable conversations. When disagreements arise, do your best to bring down the level of tension.
Remember that courts often rely on very little evidence when issuing restraining orders. You should avoid any words or actions that could be used against you.
If you are facing a custody battle or divorce, you should rely on dispassionate witnesses. When a conversation might result in conflict, a witness can help ensure that any false allegations do not stick.
A witness can provide a neutral, accurate account of both parties’ words and actions. This makes it more difficult for either party to lie.
If you have been falsely accused, it is important to point out the inconsistencies in the accuser’s account of events.
The strongest form of this strategy is to have a sturdy alibi. If a reliable person can verify that you were somewhere else at the time in question, your defense will be very strong.
An attorney can help you to think through the facts and find inconsistencies in the accuser’s story.
Show the Accuser’s Motivation
Another strong defense strategy is to provide evidence that the accusing person had a motive to lie. Documented evidence is the most compelling.
For instance, perhaps the accusing person has threatened you with a custody battle. Maybe the accuser has threatened to use false allegations in the past.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
The strategies discussed above are only a few of the possible approaches. Building a strong defense is crucial if you have been accused of domestic violence.
No matter what the circumstances, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help.