Domestic violence is a serious crime, but there are some cases in which one person will falsely accuse his or her significant other of committing acts of domestic violence. People may make such false claims for a variety of different reasons, including to get revenge if their spouses have said they want to get divorced, to get the upper hand in custody disputes, to get their significant others away from them and out of their lives or to get possession of the significant other’s property. Being charged with domestic violence can seriously impact your life, and it is important that you get help from a skilled criminal defense attorney. Headed by attorney Robert J. Hickey, we are the leading criminal defense law firm in Orange County.
Why people face false charges
Because women fought to have domestic violence criminalized for so long, now that it has been made illegal, police and prosecutors tend to err on the side of women who report abuse. While either women or men can report domestic violence by their significant others, the laws are primarily biased against men who are the more dominant partners. If you are falsely accused, you may be charged with an act of misdemeanor domestic violence even when your significant other has no visible injuries or other signs of any abuse.
Potential consequences when you are falsely accused of domestic violence
The stigma associated with domestic violence perpetrated by a man against a woman is severe. Because of how passionate people are about the problem of domestic violence, many people never think that the person who is accused could possibly be innocent. This means that when you are accused, your acquaintances, employers, coworkers, friends and family are likely to believe you are abusive no matter what you do to convince them otherwise.
Potential collateral consequences you could suffer when you have been accused of domestic violence may still happen even if you are not convicted. Simply being charged with the act can cause you to lose your job, mar your criminal record and hurt any custody and visitation case you may have with your children. If you are wrongfully convicted, you could also spend time in jail.
Signs that your significant other could potentially make false accusations.
In most cases, a person who has the capacity to falsely accuse others is vindictive or otherwise emotionally unstable. Observable behaviors that indicate a possibility of this include aggressive and constant attention demands, emotional outbursts, jealousy and a tendency to lash out. If you are worried that your significant other is the type of person who could make false reports against you, it is a good idea for you to discuss your concerns with your lawyer. There are several proactive steps you can take if you believe that your significant other could attempt to sabotage you by making false accusations.
Tell your relatives and friends
If your significant other is making threats or is behaving in an otherwise erratic manner, tell your relatives and your friends before you are accused. Often, even those who are close to you will believe false accusations when they involve allegations of domestic violence. If they know what your significant other is doing ahead of time, they are likelier to support you after the fact.
Protect your login information
Never give out your passwords and change them frequently. Sometimes, a vindictive person will go to great lengths to falsely accuse you. They might log in to your account and then send messages from it to their own account. This is so they can then file false charges against you of sending them annoying or threatening messages.
Start gathering evidence
If you are a victim, it is possible that your abuser could falsely accuse you of domestic violence. This often happens when you have been emotionally abused and are in the control of your abuser. Start gathering evidence now of the abuse you have suffered to back up your story in the event your abuser later tries to falsely accuse you.
What you should do if you have been falsely accused of committing an act of domestic violence.
If you have been falsely accused of committing an act of domestic violence, there are several important steps you should take.
Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney
The very first step you should take is to find a skilled criminal defense lawyer who has experience with defending people against accusations of domestic violence. When you go to court, your lawyer will work to prove that you are the victim and that the accusations are false. It is vitally important that you tell your attorney all pertinent information that can help to show that the act is vindictive. For example, if you have been having an affair, tell your attorney. Exposing an affair is better than getting wrongfully convicted.
Obey all restraining orders
If the court has issued a restraining order against you, it is very important that you obey the court’s order. Even if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, violating a resulting restraining order can result in a separate conviction. This could lead you to face additional legal consequences. If the person attempts to contact you, don’t answer and keep a record of every instance of attempted contact.
Demonstrate your parenting skills
Sadly, false accusations are often lodged when people are in the middle of custody disputes or divorces. This can lead to your losing the right to see your kids. It is very important for you to get help from your attorney so that you can prove to the court that you are a good parent and that your partner falsely accused you so that you do not lose your rights as a parent.
Keep your story straight
Sometimes, people try to change their stories because they think different approaches may be more helpful. Never do this. If you have said something, you need to stand by your statement and not contradict yourself later on. Contradictions can and often will be used against you by the prosecutor.
During a trial, it is a common tactic for prosecutors to try to goad domestic violence defendants into getting angry and making outbursts in court. Remain calm at all times. If you don’t, then the jury and the judge are likely to believe you are guilty.
Remember who the real victim is
Never lose sight of the fact that you are the victim, and that the person accusing you is the one who has committed a crime. Prove that you are innocent, and concentrate on doing so. When you are done, then it is possible that your accuser may end up facing his or her own criminal charges in Orange County for making the false report and committing perjury in court.
What will happen to the person who falsely accused you?
Even though state law allows prosecutors to file charges against people who make false accusations, they often do not. They may refrain out of fear of scaring away people who have really been abused from making their own reports.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is important that you get help. Call us today to schedule your consultation.