There are significant risks associated with being on the accused end of a false accusation of domestic violence:
- Loss of your rights to frequent and extensive contact with your child(ren).
- Loss of access to your home and other property.
- A jail sentence, fines, and/or probation for a conviction.
- Modification of your child support and/or spousal support order.
- A permanent “bad mark” on your record that may interfere with employment or other opportunities requiring a clean criminal record, background check, security clearance, or a job that requires you to carry a firearm.
As always, do not ignore such accusations. Your first order of business will be to find and obtain an attorney, if possible, and one with plenty of experience with false allegations of this kind.
A false allegation of domestic violence must be overcome through either a dismissal or an acquittal (a finding of “not guilty”) at a jury trial. There is no victory in a plea bargain with these cases. You, the innocent party, will live a life that will be dramatically and negatively altered by pleading guilty. At no time in dealing with a false allegation should there ever be an admission of guilt when you’re innocent. While a plea bargain may seem like an easy way out of a jam, it will ruin the life of the falsely accused forever.
Some other alternatives may appear attractive to simply put an end to the madness, but all result in one final problem – a criminal record and a finding that you have committed domestic violence.
For instance, a successfully completed deferred adjudication or sentence will not result in a conviction for the falsely-accused. However, the lack of a formal conviction is meaningless. Whether the falsely accused receives deferred sentencing, probation only, or is released from jail, s/he will still have a criminal record and a finding of domestic violence. These records are public information and the nature of the charges are accessible to everyone.
Community supervision for the falsely-accused will require “battering intervention program counseling.” In this setting, the “offender” is required to admit that not only the actual charge is true, but also any extraneous charges or allegations made in police or advocacy center reports are true. It matters not that the charge is embellished, false, or partially true. It doesn’t matter that the extraneous other charges did not occur. One’s failure to admit that everything alleged is true will result in community supervision being revoked and the falsely-accused will be headed directly to jail.
This is what makes false accusations so attractive to the vindictive ex-partner. There is so much to lose on a mere allegation, long before an investigation takes place or any facts are uncovered. Combine that with the reality that false accusers are punished very little, if at all – and you have the situation we have today – rampant accusations, restraining order abuse, and people incarcerated on false accusations in the name of “playing it safe.” No longer is our mantra “let 9 guilty people go free to avoid sending 1 innocent person to prison.” It’s morphed into a cover-your-ass at the expense of the victims. “Let 9 innocent people go to prison if it means protecting one person from an actual guilty party.”
How does one protect themselves?
All of the tips on the Protecting Yourself Page will apply in whole or in part to any of the situations we’ve made sub-categories. Refer to it for a long list of steps to take to combat the false allegation (of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, harassment, drug and alcohol abuse) and, in some cases, prevent them.
Additionally, some suggestions would include:
- Seek experienced legal counsel.
- Don’t put yourself in a position to ever be alone with the false accuser once the accusations are made.
- Don’t violate a restraining order that may have resulted from the allegations. (Though, defend yourself vigorously through appropriate channels.)
- Don’t contact the accuser and try to force him/her to recant their allegations. It could lead to more trouble.
- Don’t say anything that could be misconstrued or will be incriminating. As always, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
- See the Protecting Yourself page for a comprehensive list of efforts you can make to protect and defend yourself fully!
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