What to Do When You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

Have you been falsely accused of domestic violence? You have options! Read on to learn everything you need to know about defending yourself.

False accusations of domestic violence have been making headlines now more than ever before. In fact, these claims are happening so often that concerned citizens have even submitted a formal petition to Congress to take stronger action against these false claims.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman who has been falsely accused of domestic violence by a partner, a spouse, or even a child. Knowing that someone you likely care about has claimed you did something so horrific is incredibly painful — not to mention incredibly frightening.

These kinds of claims can destroy your reputation, your professional life, and carry serious emotional consequences. If you’re going to fight these false allegations — and you should — you need to know exactly what to do. Keep on reading this post to understand the right way to respond to these devastating accusations.

Couple Argument

What to Do When Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

It’s difficult to understand why someone would make false allegations of domestic violence against you, especially if this is a person you’ve had a happy relationship with in the past. Perhaps they’re doing it to take revenge on your for a perceived (or actual) slight. Maybe they feel they can weaponize the charges in order to win a custody battle during a messy divorce. In some cases, the person accusing you may be mentally ill. However, it’s important to keep your cool and take immediate action if you want any chance of winning a falsely accused domestic violence case.

Learn Your State’s Definition

First of all, be aware that the phrase “domestic violence” can take on many different meanings depending on where you live — and the legal definition of domestic violence changes often. In the state of Rhode Island, domestic violence refers to acts like physical and sexual assault, disorderly content, stalking, trespassing, vandalism, and even some forms of cyber harassment.

Realize There May Be Immediate Action

Additionally, realize that as soon as your spouse/partner (or, as is sadly common, even your child) makes a claim of domestic violence, a judge will be able to grant them an immediate emergency order of protection against you.

A no-contact order prevents you from speaking to, texting, or having any kind of physical meeting with the accuser. Yes, this is often issued even if there is no evidence of any kind of domestic violence.It is extremely essential that you absolutely follow the rules of the no-contact order to the letter. Even asking a friend to contact your family member on your behalf could land you in serious trouble down the line — in fact, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

File a Motion

Your goal should be to file a motion to dismiss the order of protection, or modified so that you can at least see any children you may have. The best and most responsible way to do this is to immediately contact an Rhode Island domestic violence attorney who has previous experience with those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence.

Collect Evidence

In addition to offering you more detailed legal advice regarding the next steps you should take, you can also start collecting evidence that may help you to prove the claims were false. Now is also the time to change all of the login information on your email accounts, your computer network, and anything else you think your family member could try to hack into.

Protect Your Valuables

You also need to protect any valuables you might have (as long as retrieving them isn’t a violation of your no-contact order). Your family member already falsely accused you of domestic violence. You have no idea what they might do to your personal property and important documents.

Face the Legal Process

Next, you and your attorney need to start preparing yourself for the legal process. First of all, be upfront with your attorney about why your family member may have made these claims against you. Especially if you know they have a mental illness that often causes them to act erratically, you should report this to your lawyer. Your lawyer may be able to help you to collect evidence from a mental health professional that can be used in court to strengthen your case.

The judge will take a look at your case and determine whether or not it should move forward. This is often where things can get a bit complicated. Sometimes, your accuser may realize the gravity of what they’ve done, and actually try to recant the charges they’ve made against you. Your accuser is also likely afraid of the legal consequences they may face for filing a false report. Sadly, by the time this happens, it’s often too late to turn back.

The case will still likely end up going to court, even if neither of you truly wants that to happen.

Contact a Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, it can feel like your entire world is falling apart. You will likely suffer from both physical and emotional pain, in addition to potentially being ostracized by friends and other family members who may opt to side with the victim. Remember, winning a falsely accused domestic violence case greatly depends on the quality of the legal help you have on your side.

That’s where we come in. Rhode Island criminal defense lawyer Stefanie A. Murphy is committed to clearing your name, helping you to get your possessions back, and allowing you to move on and strengthen damaged relationships with dignity. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.