Accusations of domestic violence are extremely serious and require the assistance of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney in order to minimize the consequences of these charges on your future. Many people feel that domestic violence charges—particularly if those charges are baseless—will not affect the outcome of their custody battle. Those who believe this are hiding their heads in the sand and will be dismayed to find just how serious these charges really are.
Family courts will almost always take such charges into consideration, even if there is no proof involved. It is important that you never enter into a plea bargain simply to “make the charges go away,” if you are innocent. Likewise, never plead no contest which is equivalent to saying you are guilty of the charges. Even assuming you agreed to a plea deal such as enrollment in a batterer’s program in return for no time spent in jail, this can be used against you when it is time to determine custody of your children.
False Allegations in Order to Gain Custody Not So Unusual
Unfortunately, leveling accusations of domestic violence against the other parent—particularly the father—appears to be the latest weapon in family courts. The mere accusation is almost equal to being found guilty. The accused must prove their innocence, and often the only way to do so is to impeach the reliability of the accuser. Once you retain a highly qualified criminal defense attorney to combat these false charges, he or she will likely seek to obtain a copy of the accuser’s complaint against you. In many jurisdictions, once you’ve had charges of spousal abuse or domestic violence leveled against you, you only have two weeks until you will be required to appear in court and counter the false allegations made against you.
You might want to discuss with your attorney the possibility of hiring a private investigator who can find any witnesses who could potentially impeach the honesty of the accuser. In some cases your attorney may advise you to take out a mutual complaint against the accuser which will ensure he or she will not be allowed near you therefore will be unable to trump up more false allegations. Your attorney may also advise you to undergo psychological testing to prove you are not the monster you have been made out to be. Remember that your future with your children is at stake and leave no stone unturned in order to prove the allegations against you are false. Also remember that in some states the definition of domestic violence can include causing fear, apprehension or emotional distress—all very subjective.
Why You Need Legal Help
Considering that in forty-eight states, judges who are awarding custody of children must consider allegations of domestic violence, over 700,000 persons are wrongfully arrested for domestic violence each year and that a full 70% of restraining orders are later found to be false or trivial, those who have been falsely accused need legal assistance from the moment the charges occur. Don’t leave your future involvement in your children’s lives to chance—contact a knowledgeable attorney today.