False domestic violence allegations are devastating to process initially, and the defendant must quickly and take legal action to prevent the accusations from causing negative legal consequences in their life. The defendant will need legal representation immediately to mitigate the domestic abuse charges and pursue legal justice both inside and outside of the courtroom.
To prevent this situation, the other spouse or partner may file for an order of peace or a restraining order. Then, he or she may file criminal charges of domestic violence that the accused will need to fight against in court. The person facing such allegations must prove domestic violence charges are false in a courtroom to preserve innocence. If the accused has dependents, he or she may need to make temporary arrangements because the allegations could cause serious difficulty in sustaining their income or support.
What is Domestic Violence in Greenville, South Carolina?
Domestic violence entails psychological abuse, sexual assault, physical abuse, and emotional abuse to a child, spouse, parent, or any other family member or household member. It affects people of all backgrounds regardless of their age, marital status, race, gender, religion, or economic status.
Common forms of abuse include arousing fear, intimidation, and threats and using force and physical harm. Domestic violence isn't just physical abuse, it can also include restrictions on access to basic necessities, emotional abuse, strict rules for behavior, and isolation from family, friends, and community.
Criminal charges for domestic violence include any domestic battery, stalking, sexual assault, harassment, or any criminal offense resulting in bodily harm or death. Although the actual definition of domestic violence varies among each state, overall, it includes any action that attempts or causes harm toward a person the perpetrator has an intimate relationship with.
Why Do People Make False Domestic Violence Accusations?
Now that you understand the basics of South Carolina domestic violence law, let’s focus on why would someone make a false accusation of domestic violence?
Perhaps the most obvious reason for such false allegations is a hotly disputed child custody dispute or a hotly contested divorce case. People often threaten to file–or simply file–domestic abuse accusations with law enforcement officers to gain an “advantage” in resolving outstanding family law matters. Indeed, false domestic violence allegations are a powerful weapon in a child custody battle.
It's essential to note that even if no criminal charges are ever filed, a party can use the civil court system to get domestic violence protective orders. In South Carolina, magistrates and judges can issue emergency protective orders and temporary protective orders without even giving the accused person a chance to defend themselves. And any violation of the temporary protective order, even by accident, can result in criminal penalties.
Even when your kids aren't involved, your spouse can use false domestic violence allegations to get a more favorable marital settlement regarding spousal support or marital property. Perhaps the accuser just wants to keep the marital house after the divorce. Or maybe they think that if they get a protective order, that will force their estranged partner to agree to their spousal support demands.
Often, false domestic violence charges are an act of revenge. Maybe the plaintiff feels that they were was mistreated during their intimate relationship with the defendant and thinks saying their partner is a “domestic perpetrator” in the public eye and courts will make them feel good. Often, accusers don't take time to think about the actual long-term consequences of their allegations.
Obviously, you may wonder, “Isn’t it a crime to file false criminal charges against another individual?” Yes, it is. Unfortunately, prosecutors and law enforcement officers are reluctant to go after those who deliberately make false domestic abuse allegations.
What Should I Do When I'm Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
So if you're falsely accused of domestic assault or a similar domestic abuse charge, you have a legal right to defend your reputation and your freedom. The first thing is to hire an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer to offer you with skilled legal counsel and legal representation you need.
We recognize many people are reluctant to even speak with a criminal defense lawyer during these situations. Often, people think that hiring an experienced defense attorney makes them “look guilty.” But the reality is you're dealing with serious charges in a domestic violence case and the law isn't on your side. The police officers and the district attorney’s office often are on the accuser’s side. They won't give you a “fair shake” or just accept your pleas of innocence.
Also, the state knows how to pressure defendants without legal representation into accepting harsh plea agreements that often include significant probation and jail time. They know that even falsely accused defendants may agree to such terms to avoid false imprisonment and further public humiliation of a court trial.
Working with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney can also prevent you from committing mistakes that could land you in deeper trouble. A common mistake criminal defendants often make when falsely accused of domestic violence is confronting the accuser directly. Doing so may make them issue threats or engage in other acts of violence that may be construed by the prosecutor as domestic violence. And if criminal charges are already pending–or protective order is in place–the state may view such confrontations as an attempt to intimidate the criminal witness.
Learn More: Can Women be Charged With CDV?
How Can I Fight Domestic Violence Charges?
Every case is unique, and an experienced attorney can advise you on the best defense strategy available for your situation. Here are common legal defense strategies:
- The accuser’s statement is unreliable. When a person intentionally makes false allegations to gain an advantage in a divorce dispute or child custody battle or out of spite, often, they give inconsistent statements to law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Such inconsistencies can be used to “impeach” the plaintiff’s credibility should the case go to trial.
- In a case where there was physical contact between the accuser and the defendant, the accused can prove they were acting in defense of their children or self-defense.
- There is a lack of evidence to support the prosecutor’s case. Sometimes the plaintiff will recant and refuse to testify in court or under penalty of perjury. Other times, a specific element of a domestic assault charge can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; for example, there's no proof of any “visible injury” to the plaintiff.
Again, it's essential to note that every domestic violence allegation presents unique sets of facts. So it's crucial to consult with an experienced criminal attorney in Greenville who can review your case and provide you with more customized legal advice. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact an experienced Greenville domestic violence attorney at TF Law today at 864-618-2323.