Domestic violence is a serious issue that comes with dire consequences, not to mention emotional and psychological distress. Being falsely accused of domestic violence by your spouse can leave you feeling angry, embarrassed, vulnerable, and afraid for your relationship, reputation and future. It is understandably difficult to face everyone after being wrongly accused by somebody you had cared for and trusted. However, you should try to keep a clear head so you can take the next steps to clear your name.
If you’re not sure what to do if falsely accused of domestic violence, the best first step would be to call an attorney immediately to know your legal options. Let the attorneys at Will & Will help clear you of these false accusations, so you can recover your reputation and get your life back on track.
Domestic Violence Laws in Washington State
“Domestic violence” means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking of one intimate partner by another intimate partner; or (b) physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.
“Intimate partner” means: (a) Spouses, or domestic partners; (b) former spouses, or former domestic partners; (c) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; (d) adult persons presently or previously residing together who have or have had a dating relationship; (e) persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship; and (f) persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship.
“Dating relationship” means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors that the court may consider in making this determination include: (a) The length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties.
“Family or household members” means: (a) Adult persons related by blood or marriage; (b) adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past; and (c) persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
“Domestic Violence” relates to the nature of the relationship between the two parties involved. The underlying charge is the actual crime alleged.
Some common underlying offenses that can be classified as domestic violence include (but are not limited to):
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Malicious mischief
- Interfering with domestic violence reporting
- Violation of a No Contact order
What to Do If Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence
Here are the steps you should take if falsely accused of domestic violence:
1. Evaluate the situation.
A false domestic violence accusation can be a destructive force in your life and might alienate you from friends, family, and colleagues. Some people use it in an attempt to gain leverage during divorce proceedings, especially when child custody issues are brought up, because domestic violence charges can cause a person to lose visitation rights, custody, or both.
The negative effects can be lasting and emotionally draining; that’s why it’s important for you to contact a lawyer right away to clear your name. Finding out the potential reasons why the false accusations are being made against you will help with your defense.
2. Contact an attorney.
The moment the false accusation is made against you, call your attorney. The earlier, the better. If you’ve already been arrested, that’s all the more reason for you to get a lawyer by your side.
Your attorney will assess the situation, gather all the evidence on your case, and create a plan of action to ensure your protection and that you receive the best outcome possible. Having legal representation will prevent you from making costly mistakes, like saying things you don’t mean out of anger or taking actions that might place you in greater danger. Your attorney will guide you throughout the entire process of clearing your name so you can get back on track the soonest time possible.
3. Don’t speak to anybody without your lawyer present.
If you are being questioned by law enforcement officers before you have reached out to an attorney, do not share any information, not even in your defense. After your family member or partner reports the accusation, expect the police to try and find you immediately. When they do, they will separate the parties (if still in the same location) and try to ascertain each of your sides. Do not answer any questions. Even when you believe you are helping yourself, you may be hurting yourself. You do not know what the other party is saying. The police will in all likelihood arrest somebody.
Although you might be angry or feel emotional about being falsely accused, be aware that your silence will work out in your favor. Anything you say in the presence of the police might be used against you in court, even if you thought what you said was harmless. Cooperate with the police, but politely request to speak to a lawyer immediately.
4. Stay away from your accuser.
You might be tempted to talk to the person who accused you of domestic violence to find out why they did it or to work things out. Don’t — it will only make your situation worse.
Any action you take after being falsely accused of domestic violence can be used against you, so an attempt to speak with the other person might be seen as harassment or intimidation. This will not be good for your defense. It may be difficult, but let your attorney handle things for you.
5. Preserve all evidence.
Any evidence that places you outside of the domestic violence accusation must be preserved. If your accuser claims you had assaulted them at a particular time and place and you have evidence that shows you did not do it or that you were not even at the scene, save it! Getting witnesses to vouch for you will also help your defense.
Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence? Contact an Expert Attorney
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, the experienced attorneys at Will & Will are ready to help you.
Will & Will has over 35 years of combined experience in successfully defending individuals against false domestic violence charges. Court and Michelle, a dedicated husband and wife team, are committed to helping you get your life back on track by creating a detailed defense strategy. They will work very closely with you to understand your situation deeply and achieve the best outcomes for you.
Will & Will has helped resolve and win thousands of cases. We can do the same for you. Contact Will & Will today if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence. Consultation is free.