A critical controversy surrounding partner violence involves false allegations. False domestic violence and abuse accusations are under-recognized in custody and dispute cases. If you face false allegations of domestic violence, you can experience significant disruptions to your life.
False accusations of abuse represent a significant threat to justice, and it is essential that those falsely accused of domestic violence consult with an experienced attorney. The skilled lawyers at Moses & Rooth can help you understand what to do when falsely accused of domestic violence. If there is a defense, we can help you beat your charges.
Domestic Violence Charges in Florida
Florida Statutes Title XLIII Chapter 41 outlines the various types of domestic violence crimes in Florida, as well as the elements the prosecution must prove to meet its burden. To prove this crime, typically, the government must establish the following:
- The accused caused bodily injury to another; and
- The victim and accused were in an intimate relationship (the relationship does not need to be sexual).
In addition, Florida Statutes § 741.28 explains that domestic violence includes any battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, stalking, aggravated stalking, or any other crime that results in the injury or death of a family or household member. Section 741.28 goes on to clarify that a “family or household member” can refer to the following relationships:
- Spouses and former spouses,
- People related by blood or marriage,
- People who are presently living together as a family or who have previously lived together as a family, and
- People who have a child in common.
However, with the exception of those who have a child in common, you must live together or have lived together in the past to qualify as a family or household member.
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction in Florida can include incarceration, fines, substance abuse counseling, restrictions on owning or possessing a firearm, and classification as a habitual domestic violence offender. In addition, you may face charges related to menacing, stalking, or other serious crimes.
What to Do If You Are Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence
According to the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, a national survey revealed that nearly 8% of Americans have reported being falsely accused of abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault. In almost 30% of the cases, the allegations were made as part of a child custody dispute. Further, the National Registry of Exonerations reports that false accusations and perjury are the most frequent contributing factor to wrongful convictions. As such, taking the appropriate steps is critical to mitigating the effects of such an egregiously false allegation.
Facing a false domestic violence charge can be a jarring experience. However, if you get into this situation, try your best to remain calm because reactions and statements made to the police may be memorialized and used against you. Thus, it is vital that you comply with law enforcement, refrain from signing any statements, and promptly contact an attorney.
Contact an Attorney
A Florida criminal defense attorney can examine the relevant evidence, conduct an independent investigation, identify all available defenses, and retain experts. A seasoned criminal defense attorney is your best chance of getting your case dismissed or getting the best result possible.
Comply with Restrictions
In some cases, courts may issue restraining orders that prevent you from contacting the alleged victim. Complying with any stay-away order or other court restriction is mandatory and essential to remaining free and getting the best resolution possible.
Collecting evidence that exposes factual, documentary, and behavioral inconsistencies can make all the difference in your case. And evidence that suggests a motivation to fabricate abuse is helpful in defending against these allegations.
Understandably, those cleared of domestic abuse charges might want the accuser to face the consequences for their wrongful behavior. In some cases, false reports are treated as a criminal offense by virtue of the harm it causes the innocent party. If you are accused of domestic violence, it is more helpful for you to focus on your defense. You can worry about holding your accuser accountable after you clear your name.
The Reasons Behind False Domestic Violence Allegations
The problem of false accusations is often discussed in other contexts, such as rape and child abuse. However, studies indicate that false accusations are often made during broader conflicts between individuals, such as at the end of an intimate relationship. While each case is fact-specific, the motivation or reason behind a false domestic violence accusation may be anger, revenge, an attempt to remove the other party from the shared residence, or an attempt to gain custody of shared children.
I Was Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence, Now What?
Domestic violence arrests, charges, and convictions can result in jail time, mandatory treatment, fines, and other collateral consequences. A Florida defense attorney can help you by collecting relevant evidence to counter the accuser’s claims and present a compelling defense. Evidence that may be helpful in these cases includes the following:
- Documentation of correspondence between the parties,
- Journal of communication between the parties,
- Medical records from the accuser,
- Photographs that depict the alleged abuse,
- Witness statements, and
- Arrest records.
In addition, an experienced attorney can assert defenses based on constitutional violations, police misconduct, and self-defense. Given the liberties at stake, reputational damage, and fleeting nature of the evidence, it is crucial that individuals contact an attorney at the first indication that they may be subject to a false accusation of domestic violence.
Are You Struggling to Figure Out What to Do If You Are Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
If you were recently arrested and charged with a Florida domestic violence crime, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. At Moses & Rooth, we have more than 20 years of experience aggressively representing good people who find themselves facing serious criminal allegations. We take each one of our client’s cases seriously and strategically create a plan designed to secure the best result possible. To schedule a free consultation today, give Moses & Rooth a call at 407-377-0150. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.