It might have come from a heated argument, a desire to keep you away from your children, or nothing at all. Whatever happened, you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, leaving you afraid of possible legal consequences and unsure of what to do next.
It’s not hard to understand why someone in your situation would be terrified. Not only do you face potential criminal penalties, but you face the prospect of losing the right to see your children when you want, the social stigma of being labeled a domestic abuser, and the potential loss of your job.
Understanding how to prove innocence in domestic violence allegations will be key to getting your life back. But doing so will take mountains of legal experience and knowledge that you likely do not have. Fortunately, you can protect yourself with the help of a qualified and experienced attorney.
Below, the attorneys from Will & Will walk you through the steps for winning a falsely accused domestic violence case.
1. Understand the Weight of the Allegations
First, you must understand that a domestic abuse allegation is extremely serious. It’s not something you can brush aside, as it won’t go away on its own.
Under Washington law, police officers must make an arrest if the allegation of domestic violence appears credible. That means a police report has to be completed, and prosecutors will decide whether charges will be filed. Keep in mind that the alleged victim cannot simply decide to “drop the charges” once the police have been called.
Domestic Violence is simply a designation for an underlying charged crime and is added when you have a specific relationship with the alleged victim, such as being married, in a dating relationship, a family member, or a roommate. Some of the common charges that can be given a domestic violence designation include:
- Malicious Mischief
Domestic Violence crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances and/or your criminal history.
Rape, for example, is a Class A felony, the maximum punishment for which is life in prison and a fine of $50,000. Meanwhile, stalking in violation of a restraining order is a Class B felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $20,000 maximum fine.
When Domestic violence crimes are charged as gross misdemeanors, you could be facing a maximum punishment of a jail sentence for up to a year and/or paying up to $5,000 in fines.
Incarceration and fines are only the beginning. You may also face a no-contact protection order, the loss of your right to vote or own a gun, probation (typically two years), and anger management or domestic violence classes.
Domestic violence-related charges and penalties can vary widely in Washington. Still, they all have one thing in common: They are extremely serious and potentially life-altering if you are convicted.
2. Avoid Contact with the Accuser
After you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you may want to reach out to the person who made the false accusation to try to reason with them or tell them how upset and saddened you are.
When it comes to winning a falsely accused domestic violence case, this contact is never a good idea. Any further contact could be used against you, and if you are subject to a restraining, no-contact, or protection order, you could be in violation. That can result in serious criminal penalties (Revised Code of Washington, Section 26.50.110).
3. Gather Evidence
Quickly gather all the information you have about the events that led up to your false domestic violence case. Analyze the situation and try your best to recall:
- What really happened?
- Who saw what happened?
- Are there photos or videos that could help prove your innocence?
- Do you have an alibi or some other information that would make it impossible for you to have committed the crime you are accused of?
This is all critical information for your case, and you will want to have it written down and well-documented so that details are preserved. Provide this information to your attorney and hold nothing back. Having all the relevant information is key to winning a falsely accused domestic violence case.
4. Assemble a Strong Defense
Your freedom and reputation are on the line—don’t leave the outcome of your case to be decided by your word versus your accuser’s. Instead, contact a Washington lawyer who knows exactly how to win your false domestic violence case.
A seasoned domestic violence attorney from Will & Will can help you by building a bulletproof defense. Here are some examples of possible defenses for those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence:
- Your actions were self-defense.
- The police who investigated and arrested you were biased against you.
- Your constitutional rights were violated during your arrest or incarceration.
- You can prove that your accuser had a strong motive to falsely accuse you of domestic violence.
- There is reasonable doubt surrounding your alleged actions.
Without an attorney on your side, you could make one of countless tiny mistakes that could sink your entire defense. The result? A false accusation against you becomes a conviction, and you face serious criminal penalties.
Reach Out to Will & Will for Help
Defense attorneys Court and Michelle Will stand ready to put their over 35 years of combined experience to work for you. They understand how to prove innocence in domestic violence cases, which is only part of the reason they both have received perfect 10.0 ratings from attorney ratings service Avvo.
Acting fast is key after you have been falsely accused of domestic violence. Contact Will & Will, Attorneys At Law, to discuss your case as soon as possible. Call us at 206-209-5585 or contact us online.