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Hearing the other side of domestic abuse allegations

Public awareness of domestic assault has been heightened in recent years, in part as a result of incidences involving professional athletes or other notable figures. Over the last decade or more, there has been increased funding for shelters for domestic abuse victims and their children, victims' advocacy groups and counseling centers.

That is well and good. We need to protect women and men who are victims of domestic abuse. (Yes, there are men who are abused by spouses or other people they live with.) However, the voices of those who are falsely accused of domestic abuse should also be heard.

Could some laws encourage false accusations?

An emerging criticism of legal statutes across the U.S. are state laws that some argue foster false allegations of domestic abuse by going overboard in the attempt to protect abuse victims. Extremely broad definitions of abuse and the immediacy of powerful consequences once an individual is accused can encourage some to use an accusation in attempt to gain an advantage in a divorce or other family law dispute. According to some reports, up to 70 percent of cases involving allegations of abuse during custody are deemed unnecessary or false.

The consequences are serious. The mere accusation of abuse often restricts the contact an accused may have with his or her children, prevent access to the family home, and affects custody disputes if a divorce is underway. Of course, there is also a social stigma attached to domestic abuse allegations. It is always wise to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible when allegations of abuse are made.

Tips for avoiding and fighting abuse allegations

While there is no surefire means of avoiding a false accusation of abuse, there are several things one can do to help prevent it from occurring or to fight an accusation once one is made.

  • Avoid conflict - Almost always easier said than done, yet it is important to keep arguments from escalating. When something as simple as blocking someone's path out of a room or making expressive hand gestures can be construed as a "threat of harm," avoiding conflict is the first and best step to avoiding false accusations.
  • Expose factual inconsistencies - Are there potential witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story? Do you have proof you were somewhere else at the time of an alleged incident? If a person alleges several incidences of abuse, there may be inconsistencies in the statements that can be brought to light.
  • Expose motivation to falsely accuse - It is wise to keep any emails, text messages or other documentation from the victim threatening to allege abuse.
  • Address the legal standard of abuse - Often, it is possible to show that what an alleged victim considers abuse does not actually meet the legal standard for issuing a restraining order. This is just one example of why it is smart to enlist the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

False accusations of domestic abuse are not guaranteed to be exposed merely by allowing the process to play out. Putting an assertive criminal defense attorney in your corner who will protect your rights at every turn is essential.

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Success Stories

  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana. Following a complete investigation by our firm, the State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with embezzling more than $300,000.00, from a previous employer. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm highlighted a number of inconsistencies and questionable statements. The State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with child abuse resulting in death. Following the investigation of our firm, depositions of key witnesses and presentation of our findings to the prosecutor, the State agreed to dismiss the charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The matter proceeded to trial and the jury found our client Not Guilty.

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