Take it seriously. That is the very first thing we advise people accused of domestic violence to do. Far too often, we have a tough job ahead of us as defense attorneys because our client didn’t take the charges seriously. People make this mistake because their accuser is their partner, and they either think no one will believe them or that they will see reason and change their mind. As hard as it may be to accept that you are facing criminal charges and the person you love is the reason, it’s vital to your defense that you do accept it and act like the criminal defendant you are.
Once You Accept Reality, Here Are Your Next Steps
It might have happened only once in the heat of the moment. Maybe you were defending yourself. Or maybe nothing actually happened at all. Regardless of the situation, once the police are called, you should understand your rights and do everything you can to protect yourself. Even if your partner recants their accusation, it is out of their hands once law enforcement is involved. The prosecutor can go ahead with the charges even if your accuser changes their mind about pressing charges. If you have any hope of coming out of this relatively unscathed, we recommend you do the following:
- Call a lawyer. The sooner you call a domestic violence defense attorney, the more they can do for you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that calling an attorney makes you look guilty, and don’t let the police convince you that you don’t need one. Get an attorney working for you as soon as possible.
- Stop talking. It is natural to want to try to defend yourself when you are confronted by a police officer, but your attempts to deny, explain, and accuse will just provide the investigator with more information they can use against you. Do not answer questions or make statements until you have spoken to a lawyer.
- Obey protective orders. Your arrest might come with an immediate personal protective order (PPO). It is essential that you obey this order to the letter, regardless of what it is. It might prohibit you from being in your own house, seeing your children, and driving your own car, but you’ll have to go along with it for the short term. Is the order an unfair presumption of your guilt? Yes. Do you have any choice in the matter? No.
- Preserve evidence. As soon as you can, take screenshots of text messages and social media posts and download photos and emails if they provide evidence of a happy relationship or show that your partner is actually the aggressor. If there is evidence that you were the aggressor, you can be sure your partner will be saving it as well.
- Stay away from your accuser. PPO or not, do not try to see or contact your partner by phone, text, email, or even through a friend. Anything you say could be construed as a threat or make you appear mentally unbalanced.
Being falsely accused of domestic violence is a terrible betrayal, and it is understandable that you would want to lash out at your partner. Having your actions misconstrued as violent by a partner is also very difficult to bear, and it is natural that you would want to explain yourself to your partner. However, as normal as these reactions are, it’s vital to your case that you leave the defenses and explanations to your lawyer.
You Are Facing Serious Consequences
If you are found guilty of domestic violence, you are facing jail time and hefty fines, not to mention a mark on your record that could permanently impact your future. You are not equipped to handle this. Trust an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to get the best possible outcome for you. In the Chesapeake region, contact James E. Short, PLC. He will get to work on your defense right away.