How to Defend Against False Accusations of Domestic ViolencePublished: Jan 15, 2023 in Domestic Violence
Being accused of domestic violence can damage your reputation and haunt you for the rest of your life. Because of this, it is essential to defend yourself after someone makes false accusations of domestic violence against you.
Reasons for False Domestic Violence Accusations
There are many reasons why someone may make false allegations of domestic violence. Unfortunately, once these accusations have been made, the person who makes them cannot take them back.
The state will move forward with the case, even if the person who accused you attempts to recant or wants to drop the domestic violence charges that have been filed against you. Here are some of the most common reasons for false accusations in Texas:
One of the top reasons someone may make false domestic violence accusations is out of revenge. For instance, maybe you and your partner or spouse have recently gone through a bad breakup or divorce. Your ex may threaten domestic violence accusations if you refuse to get back together.
Another common reason for false domestic violence accusations is issues with child custody. When two parents do not get along, and one wants to spite the other and retain sole child custody, they may file false domestic violence allegations. This could have a devastating impact on your child custody case if you are convicted.
It is not unusual for a misunderstanding to cause unfounded domestic violence accusations. For instance, if your neighbors overheard loud arguing in your home and contacted 911 or law enforcement officials, but you were actually yelling at the TV over a football game or got too loud during family game night, false accusations of domestic violence could be filed if the police do not take your explanation at face value.
Types of Domestic Violence Charges in Texas
There are multiple types of domestic violence charges you could be facing in the state of Texas. Generally, the following types of crimes are most often associated with domestic violence:
- Domestic assault
- Aggravated domestic assault
- Continuous violence against the family
According to Texas Penal Code Ch 22.01, you can be charged with domestic assault if you recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally threaten to cause or cause physical bodily injury to another.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
According to Texas Penal Code § 22.02, you can be charged with aggravated domestic assault if you are accused of committing an assault that results in severe bodily injury to another, or you are accused of using, or exhibiting a deadly weapon in the commission of the domestic assault.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
According to Texas Penal Code § 25.11, you can be charged with continuous violence against the family. If you have previously been charged with or convicted of any type of family or domestic violence-related charges over the last 12 months.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge
Even an accusation of domestic violence is enough to destroy your personal and professional reputation. The criminal penalties for domestic violence, however, are even harsher. If you are found guilty, you could expect one or more of the following consequences:
- Incarceration in a county jail or state prison
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Court-ordered anger management treatment
- Court-ordered mental health counseling
- Probation requirements, including curfews, and regular meetings with a probation officer
- Housing restrictions
- Restitution and court fines
However, it is not only criminal penalties that you may face. Here are some collateral ways your life could change after a domestic violence conviction in Texas:
Under Texas Family Code Ch. 85, when accusations of domestic violence arise, the individual making the allegations may also have the opportunity to take out a protective order against you. This could limit your child custody rights, your housing, and require you to avoid any and all communication or contact with the person who made domestic violence allegations against you.
Damage to Reputation and Future
It will be hard to reverse the damage a domestic violence accusation has on your reputation and future. If convicted, you may find it difficult to maintain relationships with friends and family. It could be difficult or impossible for you to resume your career after being found guilty. You may find your professional license is suspended or revoked. These consequences can impact you financially and emotionally.
Loss of Firearm Rights
Anyone convicted of certain types of domestic violence offenses can expect to lose their firearm rights. In the state of Texas, those convicted of a felony loses the right to bear arms for five years after they complete their sentence.
You may be required to surrender any firearms to the local police department if you are found guilty. Failure to do so could result in a felony possession of a firearm charge, which is more severe than the domestic violence allegations you are currently facing.
What to Do After a False Allegation of Domestic Violence
There are certain steps you can take to begin protecting yourself from the harsh implications of a guilty verdict for domestic violence. These steps include:
Hire a Lawyer
When you learn that there have been false domestic violence allegations made against you, you need to reach out to an attorney for help as soon as possible.
Your lawyer can help identify witnesses, gather evidence to support your case, and work with the state’s prosecutor to determine whether a pretrial diversion program or plea agreement can be met. Your attorney may even get the domestic violence allegations against you reduced or dismissed entirely.
Do Not Interact with Your Accuser
No matter what, do not interact with your accuser. The individual who has accused you of domestic violence may have a restraining order or protective order against you that requires you to stay away from and not communicate with them. Any attempt to make contact could be seen as a violation of the protective order, which could bring further criminal charges.
Secure Evidence for Your Defense
You can also obtain evidence to support your case. You can provide your attorney with communications exchanges between you and your accuser, photos of the alleged injuries, photos of your actual injuries, and the contact information of any witnesses or family who can attest to the state of your relationship with your accuser.
Defenses for Domestic Violence Charges
You should always be prepared to present a compelling defense strategy if you hope to obtain an acquittal. Some of the most common defenses used in domestic violence cases include the following:
Insufficient Evidence Against You
The prosecutor must show that each element of an offense has been met for the state to consider a conviction. Failure to provide sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt means the charges against you could be dismissed altogether.
Lack of Intent
You must have had intent to cause harm, threaten, intimidate, or otherwise cause physical bodily injury to your accuser. Lack of intent should help you to obtain an acquittal.
You might be able to prove self-defense if you were acting in defense of yourself or others when you had reasonable reason to believe that your life, or someone else’s life was in jeopardy, or at risk of serious bodily injury.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Having an experienced Texas domestic violence lawyer at the Law Offices of Ned Barnett on your side could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. You can find out more about how to clear your name of the domestic violence allegations that have been made against you when you contact our team for a confidential consultation. You can reach us through our secured contact form or by phone at (713) 222-6767 to get started on your defense strategy as soon as today.