Domestic violence is a criminal offense that takes place when one intimate partner tries to forcefully oppress the other through physical assault, battery, stalking, or criminal harassment.
When a person files a domestic violence complaint, its authenticity needs to be verified. It may be possible that the accused is wrongly charged of the criminal act, and is being framed by the accuser.
When domestic violence charges are brought against a person, they can have severe consequences for both the accused and the victim, apart from the criminal implications. Disturbed familial ties and relationships are a few of the consequences that the alleged victim and perpetrator experience.
If convicted, the abuser may either be incarcerated, or fines may be imposed once the charges are filed with the police. Further, the police department can ask the perpetrator to vacate the family residence or initiate no contact with the victim and his/her family members.
In the United States, domestic assault laws vary from state to state. Whether it is the legal definition of domestic violence or the procedures and punishments, the laws may differ. For instance, in some states, medical professionals are involved in the investigation to prepare a medical report of the physical injuries (if any) caused to the victim. This helps the law enforcement agency to determine whether or not the charges carry any weight.
If you have been falsely charged with domestic violence, you should be extremely careful in dealing with the situation, and ensure that you take the necessary legal actions to avoid getting convicted. Here are a few points that can help you know more about preparing yourself in this regard.
Preserve the Evidence That May Prove Your Innocence
The defense strategy for a defendant can be effective only if there is enough convincing evidence to prove his/her innocence. Presenting substantial evidence can create a doubt in the so-called plaintiff’s arguments and work in your favor.
For instance, taking photographs of your hands soon after the alleged physical abuse incident can be one of the evidences. If there are no bruises, scratches, or swellings on the victim, then it will be easier to prove that there was no physical tussle between you and the accuser.
Additionally, you may want to save any written communication (over SMS, chat messages, or emails) between the two of you to highlight if there was a heated argument before the incident.
Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney
If you’ve been wrongly charged with a crime of domestic violence, you should immediately contact an experienced defense attorney to represent you. An attorney can better evaluate the strength of the evidence against you, and suggest the best possible arguments to defend your case.
Never speak with public prosecutors or investigators without consulting with your lawyer, as anything that you mention to them can be used against you in court.
Speaking about the emotional trauma caused by such a case, a domestic violence attorney in Massachusetts said, “Domestic violence cases can be profoundly emotional and charges can be blown out of proportion when emotions run high, so it is advisable that people hire professionals to deal with the case in the most practical manner.”
Pay the Bond for Bail on Time
For being charged with committing a crime as serious as domestic violence, you may be issued a restraining order by the court and asked to stay away from the victim. You can even be arrested if the court finds you to be a threat to the victim’s safety.
Do not panic in such a situation. Your lawyer can arrange the forms required to get a bail bond for release from jail. After that, you will have to follow the conditions mentioned in the release document to keep your freedom.
Also, you may have to pay a certain amount of money to the court, along with the form for bail. Make sure that you make the payments on time to avoid complications in your case. Strictly observe the rules mentioned by the judge when you are out on bail. Violating any of the rules can reduce the chances of getting the charges dismissed.
Present a Believable Defense in Court
Narrate the entire incident to your attorney so that he/she can put together a reliable defense argument to prove your innocence in court. As the defendant in a domestic violence case, you are entitled to use exculpatory evidence that the prosecutor possesses that may add to your defense. Further, subpoena the witnesses (if any) who were present at the crime scene, if you think their testimonials can add credibility to your plea.
In some states, police officers are required to make a judgment as to who the perpetrator was and arrest that person, even when the physical acts of violence were committed by both parties involved. If you are the victim in the situation, you can question the police officer’s testimony and assert that your actions were a justifiable response to the alleged victim’s aggressive behavior. If you have a strong argument to prove your innocence, the court may accept your plea and dismiss the charges against you.
Federal and state laws are devised to help people attain justice not only for victims, but also for those wrongly accused of a criminal offense. Domestic violence is one crime that can mislead law enforcement bodies. But, by following proper legal procedures, a person can prove his/her innocence in court and avoid false convictions.
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