As the media continues to shine light on the problem of domestic violence, more women and even men are coming forward each year with their stories of spousal abuse. With this increased awareness comes a disturbing rise in the number of false domestic abuse allegations. Being falsely accused of domestic abuse can result in a downward spiral of child custody loss, damage to one’s reputation, and even potential jail time. Knowing how to handle false allegations of domestic abuse can be the difference between irreversible damage and moving forward with one’s life.
Advantage Seeking Strategy
False allegations often appear during divorce or separation proceedings or child custody disputes by individuals hoping to obtain an unfair advantage in their case. Individuals found to have committed domestic abuse can suffer both civil and criminal penalties. Many states provide a statutory presumption which precludes any award of custody if domestic abuse has occurred. Other states have the power to sentence alleged domestic abusers to jail, especially if they are found to have violated a “no contact” protective order.
Many judges adopt a broad view of domestic abuse to include any action which results in a “fear of harm” to the victim. For individuals seeking to obtain larger divorce settlements or favorable custody arrangements, it can be easy to manipulate this subjective standard. Almost any gesture made by a larger or stronger spouse can be perceived as threatening to a smaller or weaker spouse. A raised hand or voice can be used to support a domestic abuse claim even if no physical contact occurred.
Protection Against False Allegations
The best protection against false allegations is preventing any appearance of conflict. Avoid any threatening behaviors including any physical contact, shouting, blocking someone from leaving a room, harassing phone calls, or threats of any kind.
When possible, obtain evidence to help expose factual inconsistencies in the accusations being made against you. Oral or written testimony of individual witnesses to incidents of alleged abuse and proof of an alibi for the time of the alleged abuse (including time stamped receipts, work time-cards, or driving records) can help in defending false allegations.
Providing proof to the Court of an accuser’s motivation to lie is another important step in defending these claims. Save any emails or telephone messages from the alleged victim which threaten a custody battle or an intent to obtain more than their fair share of the marital estate.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Guidance
Understanding your rights under the law is a crucial first step in defending yourself in these matters. Navigating the legal system without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can have disastrous results. Accused individuals may inadvertently forfeit their rights by failing to respond promptly to false allegations. By contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately after being charged of domestic abuse, you will be in the best position to defend meritless claims.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Agre & St. John Protect the Rights of Falsely Accused Individuals
If you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse or another crime, the experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Agre & St. John are here to help. Our dedicated attorneys provide aggressive representation to our clients seeking to avoid criminal convictions and jail time. With offices conveniently located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Camden County, Burlington County, Salem County, Gloucester County, and Cumberland County. To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyer today, call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online.