If you're facing accusations of domestic violence, there's a lot on the line. A conviction could land you behind bars. You could lose your job. You could lose your rights to see your kids. With felony charges, you could also lose other rights, like the right to own firearms. This, in turn, could bar you from pursuing certain careers, such as that of a police officer.
Don't panic if you're accused, even if you know you did nothing wrong and you can't believe it's happening. There are things you can do to protect yourself. Below are four common defense tactics.
1. The other party consented.
This does happen from time to time. For example, some people play games or perform dares that include striking one another. If the other person said you could do so, he or she can't then turn around and claim you committed a crime.
2. You were protecting yourself.
Perhaps your spouse attacked you, and you had no choice but to respond in kind in order to stop the assault. Then your spouse went to the authorities, accused you of starting the fight, and claimed it was a domestic violence case. You have a right to protect yourself from violence, especially if you were afraid for your life.
Similarly, people sometimes claim they were acting to protect a child. For instance, if your spouse was abusing your child, maybe you just did what you had to do to stop the abuse as fast as possible.
3. There isn't any evidence.
Remember, accusations alone aren't enough in a court of law. Others can say anything they want, but you cannot be convicted if there isn't any evidence. The burden of proof is not on you to show your innocence, but on the other party to show that you broke the law. If they can't prove you did anything wrong, a conviction can't be made.
4. The other person is intentionally lying.
A family member or significant other may lie about domestic violence of all manner of reasons. It could be done out of spite after you ended a relationship. It could be a situation where he or she was blackmailing you and threatening to lie, but you wouldn't give in and things spiraled out of control.
One of the most common times that false accusations of domestic violence show up is when a couple is fighting over custody of their children. One parent may lie about abuse, of the children or the parent, in order to sway the family court into giving him or her custody of the kids.
Always keep your constitutional rights in mind. Accusations are just that: accusations. They don't prove anything on their own, and you always have the right to a fair trial.