It is not uncommon for a person to be falsely accused of domestic assault. When these types of accusations are made, however, the result can be devastating – this is true even after all has been done and said and your name has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner your defense is started, the better it is for you to clear your name before accusations ruin your life.
Bryan J. Jones, a domestic violence defense attorney, has defended clients falsely accused. He knows how devastating these types of accusations are. And he also knows – through experience – that these claims can be successfully defended against. With extensive experience in criminal defense and a deep understanding of domestic violence, he has the capability to develop a strong and viable defense for you.
Keep in mind each case is different and the facts are unique, but what remains constant is this: Bryan J. Jones will work tirelessly. Contact his office today to learn more. In the meantime, here's an overview of false accusations of domestic violence in Virginia.
Accusing a person falsely of domestic violence is a serious matter. It's not something done lightly; there is likely a strong motivation behind it. The most common motivators of false domestic violence claims include:
Scorned Lover. A spouse or partner may be experiencing a breakup that he or she doesn't want or is resentful about and uses a false accusation of domestic violence to hurt the other person.
Custody Battles. Parents of a child may be fighting for custody and one parent uses it as a way to challenge the other parent's chances of custody.
Negative Parent/Child Relationship. Parents of a child may be fighting for custody and one parent uses a domestic violence claim to influence the child's perception of the other parent.
State Benefits. A "victim" of domestic violence can sometimes receive specific aid or special treatment from the government for things like welfare and public housing.
Avoidance. Sometimes a person may falsely claim domestic violence to simply get the other person out of their lives – e.g., a former partner may be annoyed at the alleged offender constantly coming by the house or a roommate may want to get the alleged offender off the property or out of the lease.
Though all accusations of domestic violence should be taken seriously and investigated properly, it cannot be said enough that false accusations happen, and fighting the claim is of paramount importance.
The evidence needed to prove a domestic violence accusation is false is not specific but may include a lot of circumstantial evidence over direct evidence. The first thing to consider is proof that the alleged victim had a motive to lie. Proving this motive may involve evidence like:
testimony of friends and family
testimony of any witnesses or bystanders
testimony of the police officers
a showing of no injuries
history of the relationship
any prior accusations
a showing that an injury or property damage was caused by something else and not the alleged offender or the alleged domestic violence incident.
Your attorney will challenge the evidence submitted by the prosecutor. Your attorney may also admit evidence disproving the allegation. The thing to remember here is that there isn't a checklist of evidence – rather, the evidence needed will be based on the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
There is another thing to remember if you have been falsely accused of and charged with domestic violence: you can defend yourself.
Viable defenses include:
You did not do it. Your lawyer will establish your whereabouts or a credible alibi.
The accuser lied. Your lawyer will establish that the injuries are not the result of domestic violence and/or are inconsistent with the police report.
You acted in self-defense. Your attorney will identify defensive injuries and look for any inconsistencies in the alleged victim's story.
You acted in defense of others, e.g., children. Your attorney will again look for defensive injuries and any inconsistencies in the alleged victim's story.
The charges cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Like in all criminal cases, to be guilty of a crime, the prosecutor has the burden to prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, and your attorney will work to create sufficient doubt to avoid a conviction.
The consequences of a domestic violence accusation are immediate:
Your reputation can be destroyed on a false claim; and
A protective order can keep you out of your home and away from any children.
Even after a false domestic violence allegation has been shown to be just that: false – the above two consequences will persist.
The worst consequence is, of course, being charged and convicted of domestic violence after being accused of the same. A conviction can mean incarceration and fines. It also means the loss of your right to own and use a firearm. A conviction, which results in a criminal record, can also mean collateral consequences like:
loss of financial aid or scholarships; and/or
difficulty obtaining housing.
The consequences of false accusations of this nature are real and dire – as such, you must retain legal representation as soon as possible. The charges can be dropped if your attorney can influence and provide real proof the allegations are false. Plus, the accuser may recant, giving your attorney additional tools to help you avoid a domestic violence conviction.
Getting these false accusations taken care of as soon as possible is key to preventing most of the above consequences.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence in the greater Charlottesville area, do not hesitate to contact Bryan J. Jones today.