Few things are scarier than being wrongly accused of a crime that you did not commit. And it’s especially frightening when the allegations come from within your own family. But as difficult as it may be to stomach, you have to fight back and protect your own personal rights.
First Things First
False accusations can feel overwhelming. They might even leave you feeling helpless. But before you do anything else, it’s important to take a deep breath. Seriously – pause and physically take a deep breath. Breathe in…hold…breathe out. Repeat this for a minute or two before continuing to read.
Take it seriously if you are accused of domestic violence. It’s important to understand that being falsely accused does not necessarily mean you’re going to jail. And it doesn’t have to mean loss of other rights, freedoms, or reputation. Accusations and charges are just that – accusations and charges.
There’s a difference between being accused of something and being convicted of a crime. The goal in your current situation is to prevent the former situation from devolving into the latter outcome.
If you follow some of the tips outlined in this article, you’ll improve your chances of proving your innocence and moving on with your life.
How to Deal With False Allegations of Domestic Violence
The courts view domestic violence allegations very seriously. However, the silver lining is that you’re still presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the burden of proof is on the accuser and their team of prosecuting attorneys to prove that you committed a crime. Here are several ways you can fight back and protect your rights.
- Hire an Attorney
Perhaps you’ve heard someone say something ridiculous like, “Only guilty people hire attorneys.” Well, that outdated saying should probably be changed to, “Only foolish people hire themselves.” Hiring an attorney has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It has everything to do with making sure your charges don’t turn into convictions.
A good domestic violence defense lawyer can help you protect both your rights and your reputation. Work with an experienced attorney who has a track record for helping clients obtain favorable outcomes in a variety of domestic violence situations.
Hiring an attorney right away allows you to go on living your life. Your attorney will step in immediately and begin putting the building blocks of your defense in place. They’ll need your cooperation, but the burden is no longer on you.
- Contact Friends and Family
You should avoid directly interacting with your accuser during this time. However, it may be worth talking with your attorney about the effectiveness of contacting other friends and family. As the accusations become part of the public discourse, everyone is going to form their own opinions. By keeping your loved ones current on your situation, you can give them the truth and shape an accurate narrative (rather than letting them form their own thoughts based on news stories or false allegations).
- Change Online Passwords and Account Information
If the individual who accused you of domestic violence has access to your personal belongings and/or devices, it’s imperative that you act swiftly to protect them. False accusers will often go to great lengths to manipulate evidence. They may also attempt to compromise your bank account information, contact your friends, and/or liquidate assets like jewelry, vehicles, or other items of value. In addition to hiding personal items, change all of your online account passwords so that your accuser is unable to access sensitive information.
- Record and Preserve Evidence
Part of defending yourself means recording and preserving evidence. And while contact with your accuser should be avoided until your domestic violence attorney approves such interactions, it’s wise to record all interactions you do have. This includes any text messages, voicemails, phone calls, emails, etc.
Take Accusations Seriously
No matter how outlandish the allegations are, you have to take an accusation of domestic violence seriously. A failure to do so could cause you to lose your job, ruin your marriage, jeopardize custody of your children, and/or lead to hefty fines and jail time.
The sooner you hire an attorney and begin proactively defending yourself from these false allegations, the better your chances are of walking away unscathed. Act today!