Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States. Several high profile murder cases have shown what unreported domestic violence can lead to. Unfortunately, there are those who will make false domestic violence allegations against another person in order to have ammunition in custody battles or even just to punish someone for a real or imagined slight. Sadly, the court system is not properly set up to handle those unjustly accused of domestic violence, so many innocent people face harsh consequences. Knowledge will give anyone an advantage in court, so there are five specific things a person should know when wrongfully accused of domestic violence.
1. Custody Issue
Many people will be tempted to take a plea deal to get out of jail quickly. This is a terrible idea, especially if a person has children. A protective order will likely be issued for the accuser and their children, which will already take time away from the accused parent. The big issue is that a domestic violence conviction can be used against a person in a child custody case. If a court has the choice between two parents, one of whom has a domestic violence conviction, the court is likely to side with the accuser.
2. Housing Issues
Even if a person hasn’t been convicted, the false accuser will have exclusive use of the couple’s home. This means an accused person cannot go to the house until the court gives them permission, even if the home is solely in their name. A person must contact police to have an officer escort them to the home if they want to remove any of their belongings.
3. No Physical Contact Necessary
Many people believe that they must physically touch someone for a domestic violence charge to stick. This leaves many people sitting in jail when they choose to represent themselves or use an overworked public defender. Domestic violence can consist of an assault on a spouse. Assault is defined as the threat of harm with the actual ability to cause it. According to Katz & Phillips, with so many nuances in domestic violence issues an Orlando criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the pitfalls inherent in a domestic violence case. When charges can be brought based solely on a significant other claiming that they felt threatened, it is nothing to be taken lightly.
4. Keep Track of any Communication from Accuser
There are times when an accuser may contact their spouse and want to meet up with them. All domestic violence cases bring with them an automatic restraining order, so under no circumstances should this be done, even if the two have completely resolved their issues. This may also be a clever ploy to have the accused violate their restraining order. There is still a criminal case which must be considered. A person should keep record of any calls, texts or emails where the accuser requests a meeting. This will show the court that the accuser is not in actual fear for their own safety.
5. Anger Management
Courts will often sentence a person to anger management classes if they are convicted of domestic violence. These classes must be completed even if a person reconciles with their false accuser. The state will not provide these classes free of charge, so it will become another unfair burden on the wrongly accused. This is just another portion of money that a person will lose if convicted, so it is very important to find an Orlando criminal attorney who can handle the case. Facing a domestic violence charge alone or with a mediocre lawyer is the best way for a person wrongly accused of domestic violence to face consequences that they don’t deserve.
False domestic violence allegations have the same consequences as an actual domestic abuse case. These charges should never be taken lightly due to the fact that a conviction will most likely have permanent negative effects on a person’s life. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer should be hired as soon as possible. The cost of a lawyer is nothing compared to the consequences that a conviction brings with it.
Molly Henshaw is a freelance writer and law student living in the DC metro area. She is also a contributing author for the defense team of Katz & Phillips. It is essential to consult an attorney and be aware of all of your rights!