How to Protect Yourself Against False Allegations of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a real threat, and there’s a reason we have systems in place to protect victims. But systems can be abused. And while that’s not to say that all domestic violence allegations are false, false allegations of domestic violence are unfortunately quite common.
If you’re a victim of false allegations of domestic violence, you know that such accusations can have a huge impact on your life and reputation. In this article, we’ll discuss your options and what you can do to protect yourself. To learn more, contact an Albuquerque criminal defense attorney at Twohig Law Firm today.
Domestic Violence Cases Provide a Fertile Ground for False Allegations
For decades, authorities ignored domestic violence as something for families to take care of themselves. Now that most people take the problem seriously, many of the systems set in place have overcorrected in their zeal to help the victims. Accusers are taken much more seriously than the accused.
This means that false accusations can significantly damage an innocent person’s life. The accusation alone can ruin not just your reputation, but your career and community standing as well. If you receive a conviction based on the accusation, you may have trouble getting a job or housing, or seeing your children.
Just because you plead Not Guilty in court doesn’t mean “the truth will win out.” You need to know how the authorities handle allegations of domestic violence, and how you should handle the accusation — so you don’t end up with a conviction on your record.
Albuquerque Domestic Violence Cases Require a Low Threshold of Evidence
New Mexico has a low threshold of evidence for domestic violence accusations, which means the accuser is likely to be believed even if there’s no evidence. That being the case, you must realize that the odds are stacked against you. You need a lawyer if you want to stand a chance.
Among other things, you may end up with a temporary restraining order (TRO) against you, even if you have no history of violence. A TRO bars you from being anywhere near the victim, including your own home. A TRO is an “ex parte” judgment, so it can be handed down in your absence. You don’t even have to know about it until you receive it.
Worse, if someone makes allegations against you, you will be arrested. You won’t get to tell your side of the story until you’re at the police station. You can be taken from your home, even prevented from seeing your kids until after a formal hearing.
What Consequences Could You Face?
Unless the accuser recants, you’ll go to court. Without a criminal defense attorney, if the accuser lies during the trial, you’re likely to be convicted. Once again: the odds are stacked against you. If you receive a conviction of domestic violence, expect to:
- Be unable access to your home.
- Lose custody of your children.
- Lose some of your civil liberties (for example, you will not be allowed to possess or own a gun).
- No contact with the victim. Even a message can count as a criminal violation.
- Lose your job and have trouble getting a new one.
- Lose some housing options. Some landlords won’t rent to someone with jail time, and you may have trouble getting a mortgage loan.
- Have to take anger management rehabilitation classes, paid for out of your own pocket.
- Lose mediation rights if you divorce.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Hire a criminal defense attorney right away. Never assume you can represent yourself. You need an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.
Understand New Mexico law and how it handles allegations of domestic violence.
Gather evidence refuting the allegations. This includes audio/visual, photos, emails, texts, and anything that shows your side of the story. Provide evidence as to your personal character.
Demonstrate motivation. If possible, provide an explanation for why your accuser has made such allegations. Often, they spring from child custody battles and divorce filings.
Locate witnesses. If you can find witnesses who were present or nearby when the event allegedly occurred, do so. They can testify under oath as to whether or not they saw any violence. Of course, false allegations usually don’t have witnesses.
If You Are Facing False Allegations of Domestic Violence
Don’t just assume false allegations of domestic violence will blow over. You need a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to handle the complexity of these kinds of cases. If you live in or near Albuquerque, call Twohig Law Firm for a consultation.
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