Being falsely accused of any crime is a terrible experience. It’s especially damaging when the crime for which someone is falsely accused is a violent crime like domestic violence or sexual assault.
Are you facing false accusations of domestic violence in North Carolina and not sure what to do? It’s essential that you secure an experienced domestic violence defense attorney who is proficient at defending the wrongly accused.
How Frequently Are Domestic Violence Accusations False?
There are a lot of mixed messaging and conflicting reports around the statistics of people who are falsely accused of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Oftentimes individuals who are guilty of domestic violence claim they are innocent because it can be difficult to prove in a court of law since not enough evidence exists. Other times, someone may lie and say that their spouse or partner committed domestic abuse in order to ruin the defendant’s reputation or get the upper hand in child custody proceedings.
According to The Center for Prosecutor Integrity’s 2020 study, around 8% of domestic violence claims are false ones. While this may not seem like a lot statistically speaking, the 8% figure represents 20.4 million adults who are the victims of false claims.
For those over 20 million falsely accused individuals, their lives are forever affected by an accuser lying about abuse. Our Raleigh, NC Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker want to help you fight false allegations of domestic violence.
Criminal Acts Related To Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is an umbrella term that covers various forms of violence, abuse, and control in family situations. These types of abuse can range from physical, emotional, sexual, or even financial.
It is important to note, that while most reported cases of domestic and family violence are crimes against women and children, men can also be victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence against men is not as heavily discussed because of the stigma of appearing less “masculine” for male victims. However, male domestic violence victims exist.
It is reported that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced partner-related violence. Just as both men and women are potential victims, both men and women can suffer false allegations of domestic violence, though men make up for a majority of the falsely accused.
Let’s explore the types and meanings of different forms of domestic violence crimes.
Any physically aggressive behavior that inflicts physical harm on their partner. This ranges from examples like kicking, punching, hitting, choking, and hair pulling, to even more severe forms of abuse like stabbing, shooting, drowning, or burning.
Forcing sex or sexual activity on someone without their consent. Sexual assault can take many forms such as the use of force, guilt, coercion, manipulation, or not considering someone’s desire or lack thereof to have sex. Additionally, engaging in sexual activity with someone who is passed out or so intoxicated they are incapable of giving consent is considered sexual assault.
Degradation, manipulation, verbal abuse, intimidation, gaslighting, and brainwashing are examples of emotional abuse. Abuse tactics that prey on someone’s vulnerability or insecurity in order to gain control over them is abuse even if it does not involve physical contact.
When someone is controlled financially by their spouse, it is categorized as a form of domestic violence. Financial abuse is often used to limit the other person’s ability to leave the relationship through isolation and manipulation.
For instance, one member of the family control’s another’s access to economic resources, requiring a spouse to turn over their paychecks, not allowing your husband or wife to seek employment, or behaving in ways that make your spouse lose their job and income.
The unwanted and persistent nature of contacting, monitoring, harassing, or following another person is considered stalking. Many times stalking becomes a topic in family court proceedings after separation, but it also can exist in marriages and relationships where separation has not occurred.
How Would a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Your Life?
If convicted of domestic violence it can affect your marriage, employment, custody of your children, and reputation while also having you face potential fines and jail time. Domestic violence charges stay on your permanent record and will come up in background checks for future employment opportunities.
If you are falsely accused of these allegations, it can ruin your friendships, relationships with the people around you who judge you based on these false claims, and even your good standing in your community. It’s important to find a domestic violence defense attorney to explain your legal rights and help you fight the charges brought against you.
North Carolina Penalties for Domestic Violence
In the state of NC, we do not have penalties specified for domestic violence. However, the law wants to protect victims of domestic violence, so an order of protection or restraining order will be instituted to protect the alleged victim. In addition, charges will be brought against the accused for whatever criminal acts they are accused of committing.
What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
If a domestic violence protective order is issued, it can last for up to one year and be extended for two additional years depending on the circumstances. Protective orders state specified requirements for the accused.
The requirements under orders of protection or restraining orders are:
- having to move out of your residence
- not being allowed contact with your spouse, children, or other members of the household
- having to pay child and/or spousal support
It is a bad situation for all family members when protective orders are put into place when there are false domestic violence accusations. Certainly, for victims who have undergone abuse and feel there is a threat to their safety, restraining orders exist for their protection.
However, if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence by a family member, you risk not being able to see your children and having to pay excessive costs in support. A false accusation can be expensive, take an emotional toll, and break the trust of the entire family unit. It’s important to seek legal guidance if you are falsely accused of the charges filed against you.
Why Do People Lie about Domestic Violence?
It sounds reprehensible to any reasonable person that someone would fabricate stories about domestic violence or sexual violence. Although rare, this does unfortunately happen.
When someone lies about domestic violence, they hurt not only the accused but all victims of domestic violence crimes because it creates a system where we doubt the validity of such claims.
The reasons that someone might falsely accuse someone of domestic violence are:
- to gain leverage in a separation, divorce, or child custody hearing.
- to ruin someone’s reputation.
- as a means of revenge.
False Accusations Are A Crime
When someone lies about a crime being committed against themselves, it is a form of emotional abuse and control against the accused. Despite being the defendant in the case and the person accused, you are in fact the victim of domestic violence yourself if someone lies about you using physical or sexual assault or control over them.
If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, you can press charges against the false accuser. In some cases, you can sue for defamation of character, and it is possible for that individual to be charged with perjury and with a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.
What Should I Do If I’m Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, there are a few things you should do. Here are the best ways to handle your situation:
- Remain calm: the very first thing you should do if you are falsely accused of domestic violence is to remain calm, as difficult as that may sound. As emotional as the situation is, it is best to stay as calm and collected as possible for the future of your case.
- Do not resist: if police are called to your home for a false domestic violence report, do not resist arrest or exhibit any behaviors that can be used against you in the police report. It is better to be brought to the courthouse and work with a lawyer for your defense than to shout, scream, physically resist, or present feelings of anger toward police or your accuser.
- Know your rights: you have both the right to have an attorney present and the right to remain silent, and you should invoke both of those rights immediately during and after your arrest. If you request legal representation to be present but are not allowed to call one, whatever you say cannot be admissible in court. However, if you are offered legal counsel and refuse, anything you say to the police can be used against you in a court of law.
- Secure counsel: it is essential to meet with a professional domestic abuse lawyer to explain the charges you face and the potential legal consequences of the charge. Further, a great legal defense attorney will put together a defense that will increase your chances of not being found guilty.
- Keep records: any contact you have hereafter with the false accuser should be documented during the course of your case so it can be used as evidence if necessary.
- Respect the legal process: as stated above, we know this is a challenge and not always easy, but if you trust that due process will run its course, it is best to oblige by orders of protection, boundaries set by the court, and any circumstances outline in your hearing.
It is very difficult to remain silent when you feel like you only have your words to defend yourself. However, even if you are innocent of the charges made against you, anything you say can potentially be used against you, so until you secure a defense lawyer with experience in domestic violence charges, it is important to remain as calm as possible.
Contact The Law Offices Of J.M. Kotzker For Experienced Defense For Those Falsely Accused
Are you looking at domestic violence charges and not sure what to do? The Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker, P.C. can help build the best possible defense approach to fighting your assault charge(s).
To learn more about how we can reach a positive outcome for your domestic assault case, schedule a free consultation today by calling (919) 439-5104 or filling out the form below to get started.