How can I defend myself against false charges of domestic violence?
False charges of domestic abuse can be terrifying because they threaten innocent individuals with severe, possibly long-term, penalties that may also adversely affect their relationships with — or even their ability to have contact with — their own children. If you have been unjustly accused of domestic violence, the first step to take is to contact a well-respected criminal defense attorney with a history of successful litigation. If you are a Florida resident, you would be wise to reach out to VCM, a top-tier firm of Miami domestic violence defense attorneys.
In order to defend against criminal charges, it is important to understand precisely how the law defines the crime you are accused of committing.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic violence is a broad category that includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of a spouse, partner, co-parent of a child, any relative by blood or marriage, or any other household or family member. Domestic violence may consist of:
- Threats of bodily harm or other psychological abuse (e.g. intimidation, insults, humiliation, defamation)
- Physical assault or abuse – with or without visible injury
- Sexual abuse, unwanted sexual advances, or sexual contact
- Stalking, which may also be considered a form of psychological abuse
It should be noted that physical assault is defined as unwanted touching, shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, biting, hair-pulling beating.
Why It Is Essential to Have a Skilled Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Florida takes domestic violence very seriously. Depending on the particular charges lodged against you, if convicted you may be faced with:
- Up to one year in jail or more extensive prison time
- Fines that increase with the severity of the crime
- Substance abuse evaluations and treatment
- The need to complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program
- Mandatory Anger Management classes
- Psychological evaluations and treatment
- Hours of mandatory community service
- An injunction or “no contact” order
- Restitution awards for the victim’s medical costs resulting from the battery
- Loss of civil liberties, e.g. the right to own a firearm
As you can see, a conviction for domestic violence can be extremely costly, both financially and in terms of lost freedoms and a permanently damaged reputation; for example, in Florida, you may have to pay for Anger Management classes in addition to fines and restitution, and, in all likelihood, word of your conviction will spread throughout your community.
How VCM Law Group Will Defend You Against Charges of Domestic Violence in Florida
Some common defenses against charges of domestic violence include:
- False allegations –you did not commit the illegal act
- Lack of intent — any harm done was accidental
- Self-defense — the alleged victim was attacking you at the time
- Stand your ground — a powerful statute in Florida in which you have a right to defend yourself and your home
- Defense of others — if you were acting in defense of your child or another party
- Defense of property — if you use non-deadly force to, for example, protect your car
- Mutual combat — a term commonly used in U.S. courts, occurs when two individuals consensually engage in a fair fight
- Alibi — although not a common defense against domestic violence charges, if we can prove you were elsewhere at the time of alleged crime, the court will have to dismiss all charges against you
- Someone else committed the crime — we may be able to show that the victim’s injuries were self-inflicted, or that she/he was harmed by someone other than you
Remember, your choice of domestic abuse attorney is critically important to the outcome of your case. Make sure you choose a sharp lawyer with enough experience to know which strategy will be most persuasive in the courtroom. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.
What is an affirmative defense?
As you can see from the above list of defenses, many are based on what is known as an “affirmative defense,” meaning that the person accusing you is actually the instigator of any violence that occurred. Because so many cases of domestic violence involve an appearance by law enforcement, a great deal may rest on the judgment of the police officers who arrived and what they heard or witnessed. Since in most situations the scene is noisy and chaotic, it is not unusual for the police to make mistakes. A keen domestic violence attorney may be able to
correct such mistakes during cross-examination of the officer on the witness stand.
Positive Steps You Can Take to Keep from Making the Situation Worse
Don’t add any fuel to the fire. The better behaved you are, the more self-control you demonstrate, in the weeks or months before and during your trial, the more likely you are to convince the court of your innocence. It is in your own best interests, even though tensions are running high, to:
- Avoid angry outbursts
- Refuse to be drawn into arguments with the alleged victim or others
- Follow all court orders to the letter, including no-contact orders
- Refrain from substance abuse
- Line up any witnesses who were present at the alleged attack or who were told about it shortly after it occurred
- Also recruit character witnesses, among your friends, coworkers, employers, neighbors, etc. who can attest to your good character and rational behavior
Questions Our Domestic Violence Attorneys Will Focus On
By creating uncertainty about the answers to the following questions, doubt can be created in the minds of the judge or jurors:
- Did the crime you are accused of actually occur?
- Did you commit the act you are accused of?
- Is there any physical evidence that domestic abuse actually took place?
- Is the only evidence of violence the word of the alleged victim?
- Is it likely that you have the physical capacity to inflict damage on the alleged victim?
- Is there any evidence that you have committed acts of violence prior to the incident?
- Does your accuser have a history of psychological disturbance? Making false charges?
- Overreacting? Wild exaggeration?
One of the most powerful defense tactics we have is to sow doubt about your accuser’s reliability as a reporter of the events said to have taken place. No matter what the particulars of your case, an accomplished domestic violence defense attorney will give you the very best chance of having a successful outcome so you can move on with your life.
Posted in: Domestic Violence