Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney: How to Fight False Allegations of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse remains a serious problem in our culture. That said, many of the laws which seek to adjudicate the problem are new, and many are so broadly written as to facilitate a spate of false allegations of abuse. False allegations of abuse are especially rampant in divorce and custody cases, so much so that if you have been accused, or if you think an allegation is imminent, your best bet is to secure strong legal representation as quickly are you reasonably can.
To begin, the definition of what constitutes domestic abuse is, at best, inexact, covering everything from overt assault to the far more subjective “fear of harm,” which could be something as seemingly innocuous as a raised voice. But such actions can, particularly when the accuser is strongly motivated by the contentious back and forth of divorce or custody hearings to do so, become the grounds for a claim of abuse. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that men are in general physically stronger than women, and often perceived to be by nature more aggressive. Those perceptions too often extend to law enforcement and even to judges.
The consequences of claims of abuse, if believed, can be serious, both criminally and civilly. Allegations can result in issuance of restraining orders, fines, vacating the family home, and restriction of contact with children or, in the most serious circumstances, incarceration.
Above all, you need adequate legal protection. A competent Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney can ensure that your legal rights are protected and generate the best possible outcome. In the meantime, here are some general rules to protect yourself against false claims of abuse:
- Avoid Conflict. This can be difficult in the throes of marital conflict, but it’s important to avoid conflict at every turn. Even something as seemingly innocuous as loudly hanging up the phone could be perceived as abusive and used against you.
- Be Prepared with Witnesses. Any interaction can result in a contentious exchange. If it’s necessary to interact with your spouse or partner, bring someone with you who can attest to events as they occurred.
- File Your Own Restraining Order. If a restraining order is filed against you, you may be permitted to file a reciprocal order. In many cases, both petitions will then be reviewed in the same hearing.
- Be Prepared with Independent Evidence of Factual Inconsistencies. Independent evidence of factual inconsistencies could be an alibi for the time the abuse supposedly occurred, something like telephone records showing a call made at that time, a store receipt, or evidence you were at work.
- Demonstrate Inconsistencies in Documents. Remember that the more someone elaborates on an untruth, the more likely they are to slip up with inconsistent statements. Compare documents such as police reports and affidavits to spot discrepancies.
- Show Inconsistent Behavior. Is the complainant’s behavior inconsistent with that of a victim? Did they wait an unusually long time before filing the complaint or behave in a friendly manner toward the alleged abuser in close proximity to the supposed abuse? Examples of inconsistent behavior cast doubt on the veracity of the claim.
Divorce and custody battles are for many among the most difficult experiences of their lives. Being prepared and securing adequate legal counsel is essential to navigating these troubled waters. If you find yourself embroiled in one of these circumstances, contact us to know your rights and get the legal representation you need.