With stay-at-home orders and increased stress levels, domestic violence cases are on the rise. People have been pushed to the brink, experiencing financial stress, developing poor coping mechanisms, and lacking the time or space to process emotions. As such, many people find themselves behaving uncharacteristically.
Domestic violence doesn’t just occur between couples. Legally speaking, these incidents could include family members or roommates. If you feel you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, you have a tough road ahead of you. Here’s what you need to understand about the legalities and how to navigate the legal process.
Hire a Lawyer
In the majority of domestic violence calls, an arrest is made, or one party is asked to leave the premises. The protocols vary based on the location, situation, and general concerns at the time of the event. While both male and female individuals can be guilty of domestic violence, physical characteristics are often taken into consideration at the time of the event.
If you are accused of domestic violence, get a lawyer before you make a statement. Regardless of who was involved, a domestic violence charge is a serious offense with severe consequences. It’s important to get more info from a reputable legal advisor about these charges before saying something you’ll regret.
Remember that you have the right to remain silent when asked for a statement. Use it to protect your rights.
Keep the Peace
Experiencing a false accusation can be understandably frustrating. However, reaching out to the accuser is always a mistake. Your job is to follow orders and keep the peace while letting your attorney sort everything out for you.
The more compliant you are with no contact orders and other rulings, the better your case will go. Reaching out to the accuser can just agitate the situation more.
Document Your Version
Write down your version of events as soon as you can with as much accuracy as possible. This document is not to be shared with the police but with your lawyer. Your lawyer needs to understand the truth of what happened, even if you made some mistakes along the way. Not disclosing this information to your attorney makes you vulnerable during the legal process.
Understand the Process
There’s a common misconception that if the accuser drops the charges, everything goes away. Unfortunately, that’s not always true. If the police decide to proceed with the case, that’s their prerogative. In some jurisdictions, it’s standard practice to move forward with the charges even if the accuser drops their case or recants their statement; it all depends on the state and the alleged events.
The prosecution may ultimately choose to drop the case. However, that could take some time after the accuser recants their accusation. Keep in mind that domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue, and letting victims fall between the cracks can be a matter of life or death.
Monitor Potential Defamation
The “innocent until proven guilty” framework still applies in the legal process today. However, we live in a highly connected society. Depending on the people involved, your case could become very public, very quickly. Unfortunately, it’s hard to unring a bell on social media, and your reputation could be permanently damaged.
The media is allowed to report on your case with the right language (for example, by using the term “alleged” in their content). If the accuser or their contacts share details of the case or make public accusations against you before you’ve been proven guilty, it could be a case for a defamation lawsuit.
Monitor your social channels and talk to your lawyer about how to navigate the tricky world of social media as it relates to your case.
Understand Your Role
Finally, take some time to reflect on the events that brought you here. It’s easy to cast blame on someone else or claim total innocence when that may not be the case. Consider what you could have done differently and take ownership of your mistakes.
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