What Should You Do if You Have Been Wrongfully Accused of Domestic Violence?

What Should You Do if You Have Been Wrongfully Accused of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence may be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior from one intimate partner to another. There are many forms of domestic violence, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. 

Many of these behaviors also constitute criminal offenses, regardless of the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and victim. However, when the parties are intimate with each other, the crime could constitute domestic violence as well and carry harsher penalties.

Being accused of a crime can be overwhelming, regardless of the circumstances. But if you’ve been wrongfully accused of an offense as serious as domestic violence, it might feel like the entire world is against you.

Fortunately, there are things you can do in this situation to protect yourself – including setting up a free consultation with an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

One of the first things you should do is hire a trusted criminal defense attorney to help with your case. It doesn’t matter to the prosecutor whether you were wrongfully accused; they will still try to seek a conviction regardless. As such, you’ll need to offer an effective legal defense to fight back.

Make sure the attorney you hire is qualified to help you, too. They should have a successful track record in handling domestic violence cases in your local area, for instance, and should also have a well-regarded reputation. 

Although you may be appointed a public defender to your case free of charge, it might make sense to hire a private attorney instead in some circumstances. When it comes to domestic violence, your future freedom could be at stake. 

Public defenders are passionate attorneys who understand the criminal justice system well, but they are often given extremely large caseloads. A private criminal defense lawyer can often dedicate more time and resources to your case.

Know Your Legal Rights

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Even if law enforcement and the prosecution already believe you’ve committed the crime, they have to prove that “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof standard in the law.

The U.S. Constitution and state law afford you many legal rights. For instance, your Miranda Rights allow you to remain silent during questioning by the police and also give you the right to an attorney. The 4th Amendment also protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Asserting these legal rights (and others) could make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. An experienced attorney can help ensure your best interests are maintained at all times.

Refrain From Speaking With Your Accuser

It’s critical that you don’t contact the alleged victim after being accused of domestic violence. This means refraining from speaking with them in person as well as any electronic or written communication. 

Doing so could constitute harassment and may lead to additional criminal sanctions. This is especially true if there are any outstanding restraining orders filed against you, in which case it is paramount that you cooperate with their terms.

You also should not attempt to reach out to any of the alleged victim’s friends or family, as doing so could also hurt your case. It’s best to leave all communications to your lawyer during this time.

Get Legal Advice and Assistance

Even though the criminal justice process is far from perfect, it does place a heavy burden on the state to convict you. If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you’re undoubtedly going through a difficult time. 

However, know that you have substantial legal rights, and there are many ways to provide an effective defense. Set up a free initial consultation with an attorney as soon as you can – the more time you can give your lawyer to formulate a strategy, the better.

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