Protecting Yourself Against False Domestic Violence Accusations
While no one disputes that domestic violence is a serious crime, there are situations where someone can be wrongly accused of domestic violence. Many spouses will use false claims of physical and emotional abuse to:
- Get their significant other out of their lives,
- Win custody battles,
- Gain possession of their spouse or domestic partner’s property,
- Get even with a spouse who wants divorce.
Due to the prolonged fight that women have had against domestic violence, it’s expected that most significant others who complain of being abused are actually telling the truth. In fact, police officers and district attorney’s will take the word of the abused partner as truth. Most laws are usually biased against the dominant partner in the relationship, who, in most cases is male. In California, as long as a charge has been filed against you, you can be charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence under penal code 243(e) (1) even though your spouse exhibits no signs of physical abuse.Consequences of being falsely accused
Domestic violence, especially when it’s perpetrated against a woman by a man or against children, is viewed by the public with so much passion that no one stops to consider the accused party could be innocent.
Once accused, it’s extremely difficult for those around you to believe that you are innocent and no matter what you do, you might never convince them you are not a domestic abuser. This goes to show that unlike in other crimes, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is a concept of justice not afforded to some people charged with domestic violence.
Some of the consequences of being falsely accused of domestic violence are:
- You could lose your job.
- The creation of a criminal record that will impact further gainful employment
- You can lose visitation with your children
- You could go to jail
- Your reputation could be negatively impacted
People who falsely accuse others of crimes they did not commit are usually emotionally unstable or vindictive. If your spouse has a record of behaviors such as emotional outbursts, constant and aggressive demands for attention, tendency to lash out when things don’t go her way and tendencies towards jealousy, consult an attorney with your fears and he will advise you on the best way to go about your situation.
If you begin to feel that your partner’s behavior could land you in jail in the future, you can take some actions to limit their chances of sabotaging you. Some of the things you could do include:
Confide in close friends or relatives
Even friends and relatives can turn against you when you are accused of abusing your children and your spouse or partner. If your partner is erratic or has been making threats to go to the police to create trouble for you, tell your friends and family early enough. They might not interfere in any way, but at least you will not lose their trust in you if your partner ever accuses you.
Keep your login information private
You never really know the extent to which someone with irrational or vindictive behavior will go to frame you. Your accuser could for instance access your cell phone or computer to send messages to her phone and then later file accusations against you saying you sent threatening messages. To avoid such a situation, keep your login information secret.
There are instances where an abuser files a report accusing the victim of abuse. This is especially likely to happen in cases of emotional abuse where you could be in the total mercy of your abuser. If in actual sense you are the abused party, gather as much evidence to back up this fact.
There are certain things you can do to protect your rights and secure your freedom after being falsely accused.
Get Attorney representation
Your immediate action after being accused should be to seek attorney representation. Your attorney’s defense when you are wrongly accused is to prove to the court that you are indeed a victim of a malicious plot for revenge.
Your partner or spouse could for instance be angry at you for a wrong you have committed such as having an affair. It’s up to you to provide any information that will help to show that the accuser is just lashing out.
Do not breach any restraining order against you
If a restraining order has already been issued against you, do not breach its terms or conditions. The accuser could try to get you into a situation where you breach it so that you face further legal consequences. Do not be lured into meeting the accuser, or anyone named in the order (including children), but keep a record of their requests to meet or of their being cited on your premises, because it will show the court that your accuser does not actually see you as a threat.
Show you are a good parent
False accusations could result in loss of your rights to see your children. Ask your lawyer how you can prevent losing your parental rights.
Stick to your defense
Do not change your story or give to many contradicting accounts of the situation. If you have maintained you are innocent from the start, stand by your claims. As always, follow the advice of your attorney.
Stay calm throughout the court proceedings. The prosecution will try to bait you into an outburst; do not fall for this trap as it will make it harder for the court to believe you are innocent.
Remember who is on the wrong.
You are on the right and your accuser is indeed the one who is breaking the law. Focus on proving your innocence and when that is done, your accuser might be the one facing new charges of perjury. By all means, hire a competent domestic violence defense lawyer, cooperate with your attorney, and allow the legal system to do its job.
In most states, even after it’s become evident that false allegations were made, police and the district attorney are unlikely to file charges against the party that made the false accusation. This is likely the case because of fear that if women are prosecuted for making false allegations, it might discourage other women from filing genuine cases. Although an accusation can be made, it is still incumbent upon the prosecutor to prove you have assaulted your partner beyond a reasonable doubt. In most cases, this can be resolved without going to trial with the help of an experienced domestic violence lawyer.