Being accused of domestic violence can have severe consequences on an individual. One may lose his/her job, be forced to register as a sex offender, and lose friends and family. Further, even if it turns out that the accusations are false, it may take years to recover a sense of normalcy, if it can even be recovered at all. Even proof of innocence can fail to repair one’s life and reputation once an accusation of domestic violence has been made. As soon as the accusation has been made, it is imperative to engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Recently, the former girlfriend of San Francisco 49er Reuben Foster recanted her initial claim of domestic violence against him, admitting that she had gotten into a fight with another woman. While charges may now be pending against the ex-girlfriend, Mr. Foster has been suspended from team activities while his legal action is resolved. A discussion of false claims of domestic violence, and how to address them if made against an individual, will follow below.
The Damage of False Accusations of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a physical act against a person with whom an individual has a special and often intimate relationship, such as a spouse or former spouse, a cohabitant, the other parent of an individual’s child, a fiancée or former fiancée, or anyone with whom the individual has or had a dating or engagement relationship.
The primary problem of false accusations, generally, and especially false accusations of domestic violence, have to do with perception. In other words, when one is initially accused of domestic violence, there is an initial perception by everyone involved that the accuser is speaking the truth. As a result, there can be severe backlash against the accused. While not everyone is as well-known as a professional athlete, the backlash can nevertheless be just as severe if against one who is not well-known. Friends, co-workers, and family will reflexively reduce communication and contact with the accused, making him/her feel overwhelmed and insulated, when, in reality, he/she is the victim.
Defending Against False Allegations
As stated above, if presented with a false allegation of domestic violence, do not try to go it alone. The feeling of insulation may lead to frustration, which may lead to other potential issues that could be more difficult to combat.
Rather, it is best to act proactively. Thus, if the relationship begins to sour, and one person believes the other may file a false claim of domestic violence, the first thing that should be done is to contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in domestic violence. These attorneys will be able to help the person in this situation understand what options he/she may have at his/her disposal. Additionally, the attorney will help the potentially accused individual gather evidence in case the accusations, in fact, are made.
In addition to practical steps a person can take to defend against domestic violence accusations, one’s attorney has several avenues to fight this charge in court, including:
● proving the injury was the result of an accident;
● showing the accuser’s injuries were not caused by the defendant;
● establishing the defendant acted in self-defense or defense of others; or
● prove the accusations were false and motivated by issues such as, anger, jealousy, or to gain the upper hand in other legal proceedings.
Further, depending on the circumstances, it may be prudent to plea to a lesser offense to avoid the serious consequences of a domestic violence conviction. One final option that may be available is to obtain a pretrial diversion, which requires the defendant to enter a batterers’ program. Successful completion will result in a dismissal of charges, and effectively erases the criminal case for most purposes.
Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence, do not take matters into your own hands and try to challenge the accusation alone. Instead, engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Los Angeles law firm Manshoory Law Group, APC handle a wide variety of criminal offenses, including false accusations, and know how to build a defense to obtain the best possible results. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for an initial consultation.