Domestic violence is a horrible thing, and those affected by it should be able to get help. But when someone falsely accuses you of domestic violence, it can have horrible consequences on your life. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, Jennifer Horwitz Law can assist you in standing up for your rights. With over 25 years of experience, Jennifer knows how to challenge false accusations and make sure the court understands your side of the situation. As a trusted and caring advisor, Jennifer will fight for the truth while making sure you don’t have to go through the ordeal alone.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a category of behaviors that are harmful to people in our households and families. While domestic violence, on its own, is not a crime, the behaviors that constitute domestic violence are crimes. Those behaviors or acts generally include causing bodily harm, threats of bodily injury, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment. For an act to classify as domestic violence, these behaviors must be directed at a partner, family member, or household member.
What Happens if I’m Accused of Domestic Violence?
Usually, an allegation of domestic violence starts with reporting behavior to the police or law enforcement. State law requires police officers to arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that a felony act of domestic violence has occurred. Felony acts are crimes that involve serious bodily harm or injury. If the act of domestic violence is a gross misdemeanor, a less serious crime, a police officer is required to arrest a person only if he or she witnessed the act. If the police officer believes multiple parties have assaulted each other, the officer will only arrest the primary aggressor in the situation.
Upon arrest, a person will usually be held in jail until he or she can appear before a judge. The judge will determine whether the person may be released from jail, sometimes setting bail or a bond, and many times ordering the person to have no contact with the person alleging domestic violence.
What Is a No Contact Order?
If you are accused of domestic violence, the accuser has the right under state law to seek a no-contact order, or domestic violence order of protection, from the court. A domestic violence order of protection is a court order that prevents someone from having contact with the alleged victim of domestic violence. No contact orders often prevent the accused from showing up in various locations where the alleged victim might be, including a home or apartment, a family gathering, a workplace, or a school.
No contact orders may also prevent the person accused of domestic violence from having unsupervised visitation with children. The court will often order that a trusted family member or court-appointed representative must be present when the person accused of domestic violence visits minor children.
What are the Criminal Consequences of False Domestic Violence Allegations?
If you are accused of domestic violence, you will most likely also be charged with a crime such as assault. Depending on the degree of assault, a conviction can result in between 1 month and 10 years in prison.
In criminal cases, the burden of proving the accused committed the crime falls on the prosecution. The prosecution must have sufficient evidence to support the charges against the accused. In many cases, this includes the testimony of the victim and any witnesses. Evidence also includes documentation of injuries, such as medical records or photographs.
Do I Need an Attorney If I Am Facing False Allegations of Domestic Violence?
In a criminal case:
If you are charged with a crime, it is wise to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. During a criminal investigation, police officers and prosecutors will review the evidence in a case and determine if it supports bringing charges against the accused. This is where it is vital to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A defense attorney can review all the evidence relied on by investigators and prosecutors and can point out inconsistencies between the alleged victim’s statements and the actual evidence available. If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, the investigation stage is the best chance you have at clearing your name.
Should a case go to trial, a criminal defense attorney is vital to challenging the evidence put on by the prosecution. A defense attorney will cross-examine witnesses and point out inconsistencies in their testimony, introduce evidence supporting your case, and examine witnesses that may support your innocence.
In a Domestic Violence Order of Protection Proceeding:
It is also highly recommended that someone falsely accused of domestic violence have an attorney to represent his or her interests in a proceeding for a domestic violence order of protection. The outcome of such a proceeding can severely limit your rights, including who you may have contact with, where you may go, and whether you can visit your children. Additionally, if a no-contact order is entered against you, the person accusing you of domestic violence may try to use that against you in other cases, such as child custody and divorce proceedings. Having an attorney present to refute allegations of domestic violence is vital to dispelling any false accusations.
Consult with a Washington Domestic Relations & Criminal Defense Attorney
Jennifer Horwitz Law has experience representing clients both in criminal court and in proceedings for domestic violence orders of protection and can represent you in criminal and civil proceedings. Having one attorney capable of representing at all stages makes it easier to stay on top of your case and protect your rights. If you are facing false allegations of domestic violence in Washington state, contact Jennifer Horwitz Law to discuss your case today.