Domestic violence tends to be a very sensitive subject, and with good reason. An average of 24 people per minute are victims of domestic violence, by an intimate partner, in the United States. That is over 12 million people a year. It’s a matter that courts take seriously. When accusations are made, it could save the lives of the children, men and women that are victims. Unfortunately, there are people who make false accusations of domestic violence. Due to how seriously an accusation is, a false one can wreak havoc on your life.
What Is Domestic Violence?
A domestic violence assault is when any of the following acts are committed by one household member or family member to another. It includes simple assault, felony assaults, vandalism, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and kidnapping. In addition, child-snatching, sexual assault, homicide, violation of a protective order, stalking, blocking or refusing access to a telephone, burglary, cyberstalking and arson are also included.
Several factors determine who a household or family member is. These include:
- the length of time of the relationship,
- the type of the relationship and,
- the frequency of interaction in that relationship.
Reasons There Are False Accusations of Domestic Violence
It is common knowledge that a domestic violence accusation can be detrimental to your life. So it’s hard to imagine that anyone would falsely accuse you of the same. But it happens for many reasons. In many cases, false accusations happen during stressful events like divorce and child custody proceedings. Oftentimes a false accusation can be used by a vindictive partner. It helps them prevent the accused from getting any time-sharing with their children.
In other instances, actions of self-defense can be turned around and made to look like domestic violence against the original instigator.
Order of Protection
When accusations are made, a judge usually issues an order of protection for the victim or victims. The requirements for issuing this order are very low. This is a great thing for actual victims of domestic violence. But, not the greatest thing for those who are falsely accused.
Order of protections tend to be no-contact orders. This means that you could be required to leave your home and have no contact with your spouse, partner, or children. This can put you in a very serious predicament because even one allegation could land you in a jail with a Class A misdemeanor. It is very easy to breach a no contact order, so having an attorney on your side who can help you navigate these tricky waters is crucial.
These orders can be very broad reaching in the way they limit the accused. You can be made to stay away from particular locations, getting rid of real or personal property and from taking your children outside of the court’s jurisdiction. While all this is meant to protect actual victims, it can be a dangerous tool for those who wish to use it as weapon.
How Will The Courts Know If It Is True
It can be difficult to fight false accusations of domestic violence. Fortunately, the courts acknowledge that false accusations are possible and prosecutors have requirements to provide proof and evidence. The most telling piece of evidence is physical injury or bruises. Even with the physical injuries there needs to be some type of proof that the accused directly caused them.
The court also factors in if there has been any history of domestic violence on either party’s side and they look at any police reports that may have been written and obtained.
A good Rhode Island domestic violence lawyer will make sure to obtain all this information from you and the necessary sources to present in your case.
In some cases, false accusers will take back their words and drop the case. This can happen randomly, because they feel regret. It could also be the result of your lawyer intervening on your behalf with their lawyer.
Contact A Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
False accusations do happen, and they happen more than you think. If you think your partner, spouse or family member could potentially accuse you of domestic violence, or if they have already accused you, it is important to get a lawyer immediately.
An experienced lawyer can help you defend your rights and protect your record. Your lawyer can determine how strong the evidence is against you and the proper defensive strategy to take. With the right defense, you can have an order of protection removed and prevent the possibility of a misdemeanor and jail time.
The Law Offices of John E. MacDonald has defended numerous clients from false allegations of domestic abuse and we will defend you too.