In many situations, a trial in family court can resemble trials in other courts. For instance, people can accuse one another of criminal acts. The court can issue criminal consequences such as restraining orders, making it seem more like a criminal court. Family courts can also financially compensate an injured party the way a civil court does.
During a divorce, one spouse may accuse the other of domestic violence. They must prove this claim, just as they would in a civil or criminal court. Doing so requires evidence, witnesses, and so on.
Similarly, when someone is accused of domestic violence, they must prove that the claim is false. This requires presenting their own evidence and counterclaims.
Like any allegation, a domestic violence claim can be false. Family courts have a reputation for being places where people act out their worst impulses. In a divorce, people can get angry and vengeful, and they simply want to harm one another.
Making a false domestic violence claim is a way to cause great harm, and people do it more often than you may believe. According to a 2020 YouGov study, about 8% of Americans, which is about 20.4 million people, reported being falsely accused of domestic abuse.
These claims can destroy someone’s life. They can ruin reputations, friendships, and even employment.
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, here are some defense strategies you can discuss with your attorney.
- Solid Evidence
Depending on the circumstances, reputable evidence can easily disprove a false claim.
If someone else was with you during the alleged event, and they didn’t see any abuse occur, this fact can be a strong part of your defense.
- Medical Records
Records can clearly tell the story of someone’s injuries. A punch to the face, for instance, leaves specific bruise patterns that differ from a slap. A slip-and-fall will not hurt someone the same way as a direct attack. If medical records not corroborate the accuser’s story, you can use them in your defense.
- The Timing of the Alleged Event
Accusers must show when and where something occurred. It may be simple to build an alibi based on just these factors. Were you even with the accuser when the abuse allegedly took place? Was your car in the driveway? Were you at work at the time? Questions like these will be important in your defense.
- It Was an Accident
Patterns of abuse are different from individual instances. Accusers can use one event to claim they were abused in the relationship.
Perhaps the marriage does become volatile, and the couple regularly engages in shouting matches. During such conflagrations, people gesture and point wildly. It’s easy to accidentally strike someone at times like this. The other, out of anger and spite, can use this obviously unintentional contact to make a domestic violence accusation.
- You Felt You Had No Choice
Not everyone is trained to deal with a tense situation. Imagine someone is having a severe mental health crisis. They are screaming and throwing things, scaring their spouse and the children. Simply to calm the situation, the spouse strikes the person having a breakdown.
Situations like these happen more often than you may think, and they can be used as credible, effective defenses in court. Sometimes, a person believes that they have no other option than to strike out in self-defense, and the law understands this.
Our firm is here to help with domestic violence allegations, whether you are the victim or the accused. For a free consultation, you can schedule time with us online or call us now at (516) 514-3868.