Few accusations can devastate a life like a charge of domestic violence. Perhaps this is why some people make such claims when they want to inflict as much suffering as possible on a spouse or domestic partner. Domestic violence laws in each state are different, but generally, the charges involve using intentional force against someone with whom you have or had an intimate relationship, such as a spouse, live-in partner or the parent of your child.
When tempers flare and emotions are raw, your partner may feel that leveling the serious allegation of domestic violence against you will help him or her gain the advantage. A conviction for domestic violence can have far-reaching effects, and obtaining a legal advocate at the earliest moment following an accusation is a wise move.
What if my accuser recants?
Criminal penalties for domestic violence may include thousands in fines, months or years in prison, and mandated counseling at your expense. If your partner chooses, he or she can make matters worse by filing a civil suit seeking damages for the alleged attack.
On the other hand, your partner may quickly realize what a disastrous mistake it was to file false accusations against you and attempt to recant the charges. Unfortunately, because those who are truly victims of domestic violence are often afraid to press charges against their abusers, the case against you will continue even if your partner admits the accusations were false.
What can I expect?
In addition to the potential criminal penalties you will face if a court convicts you of domestic violence, you will likely suffer in other ways, even if you do not go to jail. Because domestic violence is an example of a stronger person inflicting violence on someone who is more vulnerable, the image of an alleged domestic abuser often becomes tarnished. A conviction may bring other negative consequences to your life, including these:
- Ruination of your reputation in society
- Damage to your personal and professional relationships
- Injury to your chances of a fair child custody decision
- Denial of civil liberties, such as the right to own a gun
Taking steps to protect yourself following false accusations of domestic abuse is critical. You may begin by contacting your friends and family and informing them of the situation so they will not be surprised and confused when they learn of your partner’s allegations.
Be sure you have your computer and other devices protected by passwords to prevent your partner from fabricating evidence through your email or messaging accounts. Above all else, seeking legal counsel may provide you with ways to protect your future and your reputation in the face of these difficult and serious charges.