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What to Do When Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

family quarrel

False accusations of any type can be difficult to defend and come back from, but among the worst are domestic violence cases. Often times, there is little evidence, and it is your word versus theirs, and, sadly, the benefit of the doubt falls with the victim. 

Knowing how to defend yourself against false accusations of domestic violence can be a severely difficult challenge, but your freedom and life can depend on it. If you find yourself facing false allegations of domestic abuse, it is important to know the most effective way to fight the charges and prove your innocence with the help of an experienced attorney. The mere allegation of domestic violence can carry heavy consequences. 

What Is Classed as Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a rather broad term that includes several different crimes against family members or significant individuals who reside in the same residence, and it is vital to understand what qualifies for a domestic violence charge. 

Before doing anything, it is important to arm yourself with baseline knowledge of what you could be facing with these false charges, and how the right steps of action are crucial for your defense. Below we have compiled a comprehensive summary of information regarding domestic violence. 

First off, the state of Arizona defines domestic violence as any dangerous crime against spouses, romantic partners, children, or other individuals within the same domestic residence. Under the law, the following crimes are categorized under domestic violence:

  • Assault – intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or injury to someone else
  • Disorderly conduct – threatening or intimidating actions, criminal trespassing or damage
  • Harassment – directly or anonymously communicate with the intent to harass
    • Harassment becomes aggravated when a protection order has been violated to prevent continued harassment or when the person has previously been convicted of domestic violence involving the same victim
  • Stalking – when an individual intentionally engages in a “course of conduct” that is directed toward another person and cause that person to suffer emotional fear of injury or death of family members or loved ones, or damage to property.
  • Child abuse and neglect – physical or emotional harm or neglect that endangers the health and wellbeing of a child. 

All of these specific crimes can be charged as domestic violence and the consequences, if you are convicted, can be severe. 

What Happens First?

Well, if you are already facing charges, you’ve been through this part, but if you fear that someone you live with may be trying to press false charges of domestic violence, then you should know what can happen. 

When the authorities are called regarding a domestic violence situation, the decision of whether an arrest is made is sometimes up to the victim or whoever made the call. Certain situations require the police to make an arrest, and it depends on any witnesses and conflicting stories of the situation. If someone is willing to claim false accusations, you may end up being arrested. 

Types of Accusations and Penalties

Whatever the reason may be for someone to falsely accuse you, how they present their case will ultimately determine the type of charges pursued. If they state a threat of violence without the presence of a weapon, the charges can result in a misdemeanor charge. 

However, if there was a threat involving a weapon and the fear of serious injury or death is conveyed, then it becomes aggravated domestic violence charge and is elevated to a class 5 felony. 

Furthermore, if it is insinuated that sexual violence occurred or violence against a child, then the charges become even more severe than the previous situations. Penalties include fines, probation, court-ordered domestic violence offender treatment programs, and incarceration. With these heavy penalties, it becomes very clear that navigating this treacherous situation correctly from the beginning is key to minimizing the potentially damaging outcomes. 

Myth: If your spouse, family member, or a loved one doesn’t want to press charges, you are off the hook. 

This is the biggest misconception when it comes to any information regarding domestic violence. If the police show up, listen to the stories, and charges are filed, even if the accuser has a change of heart and decides to drop the “false” charges, later on, it’s too late. It is now in the hands of the prosecutor, and most of the time, they choose to pursue criminal charges because of the serious nature of domestic violence. 

How to Defend Yourself from False Accusations?

There are a few things you can do prior to finding yourself with your back up against a wall, facing serious charges. If you suspect that a relationship is turning bad and you have a reason to believe that someone close to you is capable of falsely accusing you of domestic violence, the following can help:

  • Consult with a domestic violence attorney – to discuss your options and to better understand what can happen if your suspicions turn out to be true.
  • Protect your valuables – often times, this is never thought of, but make sure that valuable information including your driver’s license, birth certificate, car titles, bank account information, money, etc. are safe. If you think someone you love is capable of false accusations, then your personal information and valuables aren’t off limits.
  • Notify family members of your concerns – as mentioned above, the victim often receives the benefit of the doubt, and family members may turn against you if allegations are brought up. Talking to your family members about your concerns and suspicions prior to any incidents can help keep them on your side and be a foundation for your case. 

How to Prove False Allegations? 

It can seem like a very difficult task to prove that the allegations against you are false because, often, it is your word versus theirs. The accusers pretend to be victims for some underlying motive and the common reasons can include:

  • Mental instability
  • Attention and sympathy
  • Vengeance
  • Removal from the home
  • Child custody

Trying to uncover the motive can be key to exposing the lie of you being falsely accused of domestic violence.

How to Prove Innocence in Domestic Violence?

Ultimately, this comes down to you having an experienced attorney on your case, who understands the legal process of fighting domestic violence charges. There are a few defense strategies that apply to specific situations, like:

  • Act of self-defense – argument that the defendant was not the initial aggressor
  • Prosecutor failed to provide evidence that the violent act or property crime occurred
  • Victim and defendant did not share a domestic relationship that is protected by law
  • Provide evidence that the accuser is lying and has underlying motives to provoke such a false allegation

An aggressive attorney with the proper strategy and specific experience is key to providing excellent defense for your case. The outcome of your case ultimately depends on the steps you take prior and immediately after facing a false accusation of domestic violence. We will aggressively fight to protect your rights and freedom with the best defensive strategy possible. 

At Sonoran Law Group, we understand that each case is uniquely different, and the disadvantages that you as a falsely accused defendant face. Our experience with domestic violence cases has provided us with the knowledge to defend each case with the best strategy possible. 

If you are seeking a proactive consultation or an attorney for your domestic violence case, please contact us immediately and wait no longer.