Few accusations may come as a shock as much as a domestic violence claim. If you've been accused of violence involving a family member or a romantic partner, it's a good idea to learn the basics of how to respond to the situation. Follow these tips to give yourself a chance to mount a reasonable defense.
Charges vs. Allegations
The first question a domestic violence attorney is going to have regarding any case is whether charges have been filed by the police or a prosecutor's office. Rumors may suck to hear, but they're not the same as criminal charges.
If you've been charged, you need to hire a criminal lawyer. If you haven't, and you're just hearing rumors or seeing posts on social media, the important thing is to avoid making the situation worse by getting overly engaged with it.
Making Contact with the Accuser is Bad
Especially once charges have been formally filed, there's no upside in contacting an accuser. It might seem like you can reason with them and get them to drop the charges, but the court may interpret that as intimidation or interference.
While there are situations involving family where some contact may be necessary, it's best to hire a family attorney and direct all communications on that separate matter through them. Always keep in mind that domestic violence allegations are treated as separate criminal matters from related family court proceedings.
Don't Get Wild About Deleting Things
In the age of texting and social media, lots of things get said that shouldn't be said. Regardless of how bad a statement might seem, it's better to preserve it than it is to delete it.
Judges understand that people say things in the heat of the moment. You'll have an easier time explaining why you said that you wish your ex was dead than explaining why you deleted the text saying it.
You may be tempted to record the other party, but you should be careful about this. Twelve US states have what's called two-party consent, meaning you have to get the other person's permission before you can record video or audio of their interactions with you.
Do What the Court Says
Entering a temporary protective order while a case is pending is common. If the court tells you to steer clear of another party in a domestic violence case, do your level best to avoid contacting them or running into them.
For more information, speak with a domestic violence attorney.