Being arrested and charged with violating the law is a frightening, and often humiliating, experienced for the average person. If you find yourself in that situation, you will likely also experience a wide range of emotions. Anger and confusion may be among those emotions if you have been wrongly accused, particularly if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence. Sadly, false accusations of domestic abuse are far from uncommon. As the accused, however, you must be careful how you react. A Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney discusses how to handle being falsely accused of domestic violence to prevent making a bad situation worse.
The Pendulum of Domestic Violence
There was a time in the United States when claims of domestic violence were all but ignored by law enforcement, the courts, and society as a whole. For the most part, the entire subject of domestic violence was thought to be a private family matter. As a result, unless the victim was seriously injured or killed, an abuser rarely faced any type of legal consequences and society turned the other cheek. For the victim of domestic abuse, there was often nowhere to turn. Divorce was no common, meaning most victims of domestic abuse remained with the abuser. Prior to the law recognizing “battered woman syndrome,” a victim of domestic violence was frequently punished herself if she fought back in self-defense. In essence, the victim of domestic violence had no voice and very little chance of ever getting out of the abusive relationship.
That was then. During the intervening decades, the pendulum has swung to the other side, often to the point where an accused is now in the position the victim was once in from a legal and societal perspective. As is often the case, the argument can be made that both the law and society “over-corrected.” Not only is an alleged victim of domestic violence taken seriously now, but all it takes is a victim’s statement to get an ex-parte protective order issued and criminal charges filed against someone. Whether this is warranted or not, you need to know how to handle the situation if you are the accused and the accusations are false.
Motivations – Why Are False Accusations Made?
Domestic violence, by definition, springs from a close, personal relationship. Relationships, in turn, can be volatile and unpredictable. Feelings can be hurt, and trust can be betrayed. Most of the time, when one party in the relationship feels hurt or betrayed, they simply end the relationship and move on; however, sometimes they seek vengeance first. All too often, when false accusations of domestic violence are proven to be false, it is this need for vengeance that turns out to be the motivation behind the false accusations.
The other common motivation for false accusation stems from a related custody battle. When the parents of a minor child are locked in a bitter custody battle, one party may get the idea to accuse the other of domestic violence in an effort to tip the scales in his/her direction.
Dos and Don’ts
Understandably, a number of strong emotions will likely run through you when you realize you have been falsely accused of domestic violence. You may also want to get back at your accuser. To prevent making the situation worse, however, consider the following Dos and Don’ts:
- Do not confront your accuser! Aside from the likelihood that the confrontation won’t go well, there is probably a no contact order in place making it a separate crime for you to contact the alleged victim.
- Do consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There are legal steps you can — and should — take at this point to protect yourself.
- Do not destroy any possible evidence for your defense. There is a good chance that your accuser threatened to do exactly what she/he did. If that threat was in writing don’t destroy it in anger or unintentionally.
- Do start writing down everything. If your accuser tries to contact you, make sure you write down the details of that attempt as well as any other details you think might be important.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about false accusations of domestic violence in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.