Have you been falsely accused of domestic abuse? If you have been wrongfully reproached for domestic assault and you have been forced from your home and denied the ability to see your children, it may seem like rock bottom. Now is the time to prove your innocence and convince the court that you did not commit this violent offense. The law is harsh and unforgiving towards domestic abusers and it you do not clear your name of these serious allegations then your future can be severely impacted. When people make false accusations of domestic violence it only ends up harming innocent people and shortchanging the true victims out there. Here are some helpful tips on how to survive a domestic violence false allegation and how to avoid them in the future.
What to Do If a Restraining Order is Served on You
If you have been served a restraining order, then there are certain steps that you must follow in order to protect your rights and to minimize potential consequences. First off, don’t try to avoid or dodge the person trying to serve you the restraining order papers. Rather than try to delay the process start coming up with a proactive defense strategy. It is important that you read through the terms and conditions of the restraining order very carefully and that you abide by them as long as the order is in effect. If the restraining order says “no contact,” it means just that- do not try to call, text Facebook or email a message to the other partner. In most states, if you are found in violation of a restraining order you can end up in jail.
If you are asked to leave your home, be sure to grab some items before you leave. When you leave be sure to take the following items:
- Your ATM/credit cards and checkbook
- Your laptop
- Legal documents including your passport, titles of property, court orders, marriage papers, prenup…
- Evidence that would be helpful for your case (ex: anything to show your partner’s abusive nature)
- Pack enough clothes for two weeks (including something nice for your court hearing)
How to Defend Yourself Against These Allegations
First and foremost you must obtain an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney to defend you and protect your rights in court. Your attorney can then work to attack the issue and may be able to move for a continuance if you need more time to prepare for the court hearing. Another smart move would be to begin collecting evidence for your case. You could start by requesting a copy of the 911 call (if there was one), issue a subpoena to any witnesses present during the alleged incident and obtain medical records if necessary. You can also have your attorney investigate into the accuser’s background to see if they have a habit of making false accusations. If the other party tried to reach out to you or wanted to meet with you while the restraining order was in effect, then document these attempts so that you can prove that they don’t believe they are in true danger.
You should also consider making some counter-actions against the other party. Discuss this option with your attorney first because the back and forth process can become draining. Some examples of a counter-action would be:
- Filing a counter restraining order
- Filing a civil suit for their intent to inflict emotional distress
- File a formal complaint with the judicial commission in your state
- File a lawsuit under the premise of false arrest
- File a lawsuit against them for perjury (Don’t pursue this unless you have physical proof, ex: videotape)
The Psychological Damages Involved
Being wrongly accused of such a heinous crime can do a lot of damage to your psyche. Not only do false accusations tear you up from the inside but it also externally labels you as a perpetrator and keeps you from being with your children. A false accusation can tatter your reputation and cost you many friends and possibly even affect your job. Many victims of false indictment find themselves working through it first with denial, then anger, bargaining, self-pity and lastly acceptance. In order for you to effectively defend yourself however, you must be able to think rationally and appear to the court as a responsible and credible individual. Talking to your attorney or a counselor about your concerns is sometimes a good idea and anything that you say is protected under provider-patient privilege.