Romantic relationships are filled with lots of emotions, especially when a relationship goes sour. Your partner could accuse you of domestic violence. This assertion might seem far fetched considering the seriousness of domestic violence, but an experienced Fort Worth criminal lawyer will tell you that these cases are common.
Domestic violence for a long time has been an offense directed against women. Therefore, courts have introduced strict penalties such as a permanent record to curb the menace. However, some of these measures have made it easy for partners to make false allegations of domestic violence.
Your partner could make a false accusation of domestic violence for any of the following reasons:
- To win or influence custody decisions in his or her favor (your spouse could also claim that you abused the children to further convince the court about his or her appropriateness as the legal custodian)
- Out of spite
- To revenge for instance because you filed a divorce
- To “teach you a lesson”
- To keep your property
Domestic violence captures a wide range of offenses, including emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, and verbal abuse, which raises some unique issues. These problems might include the difficulty in proving that an incident occurred.
Physical abuse could be easier to prove since it mostly presents physical symptoms such as a black eye, broken limbs, and lacerations, among others. But how do you prove that you did not verbally threaten to hit your spouse?
You Might Feel Powerless
Allegations of domestic violence are damaging. Whether or not you committed the offense, you might encounter problems such as:
- A tainted reputation among friends and family
- You could lose your job
- You could be wrongfully convicted for the offense (particularly because most people tend to believe the “victim” without considering that the accused could be innocent)
- You will have a permanent criminal record
- You could lose your gun rights
- You could lose a child custody battle and sometimes, your full parental rights
- Loss of visitation rights
- Problems finding employment and licensing in the future
With all these negative consequences, you might feel hopeless. But there is always a way out. The first step to take when these accusations arise is to contact an experienced Fort Worth criminal lawyer.
You can never go wrong with an attorney representing you.
Domestic violence attorneys have the education, experience, and resources to establish your innocence. For instance, they can call on expert witnesses, medical examinations, and legal motions to impeach the credibility of witnesses.
The common mistake people make when accused of domestic violence is failing to take action to assert your innocence. And when they do, some choose to take the first deal offered and effectively change their story.
You do not want to do that. The constitution protects you from a wrongful conviction, but you also have a role to play.
What You Can Do
Clarity on what to do when you are accused of domestic violence can make it easier to deal with these allegations. After you contact your attorney, you need to start collecting the relevant evidence to support your innocence.
Evidence, in this case, could include the testimony of witnesses such as:
- Character witnesses
- Witnesses to the alleged act
- The hospital
Your attorney could also question the “victim” to identify inconsistencies in his or her story. The defense might not be easy, but with the right steps, you can fight these charges successfully. You can also mitigate the situation by reassuring that you are innocent to your friends, family, neighbors, and employer.
Next, obey any restraining orders against you. Do not go to the victim to speak to him or her. Violating the restraining order could provide further evidence that you did commit the crime. Do not incriminate yourself. If you have to find an alternative residence to avoid being in contact or coming close to the “victim.”
If the “victim” contacts you to arrange a meeting, decline, and document these requests. They will provide evidence to the court that he or she does not consider you a threat.
It Might Not Be Easy, but It Is Possible
Fighting false accusations is not as easy as saying, “I didn’t do it.” You have to back your claim with evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the accuser is making false allegations against you.
Work closely with an experienced Fort Worth criminal lawyer in gathering the relevant evidence and presenting your defense in court. Depending on the circumstances, the court might charge the accuser with perjury, or you can file a civil lawsuit for any damages you suffered due to the false accusations.