Sadly, false accusations of domestic violence are not uncommon in Virginia. These accusations usually are made in connection with an acrimonious divorce, a child custody battle, or simply an emotional breakup. Both men and women can be falsely accused of domestic assault or similar charges, often by spouses or partners who wish to have an advantage in court or who have acted out of spite or resentment.
These false accusations can leave you reeling. However, it is vital that you take action immediately to protect yourself. Here are five things to do as soon as you are falsely accused of domestic abuse in Virginia:
- Realize that domestic assault is a serious crime. Even if the accusations are groundless, it can be a serious mistake to ignore claims or just not deal with the issue. Being convicted of a domestic violence charge can affect your permanent record as well as your personal life, employment opportunities, the right to own a firearm, and reputation — not to mention that it can end in jail time!
- Collect evidence. One problem with domestic violence charges is that they can be difficult to prove or disprove. As soon as you are faced with the accusation, write down everything that has happened in as much detail as you can (including dates, witnesses, and other information). Keep a date book, take pictures, look through old emails, and do whatever else you can to find evidence of your innocence or even evidence of your version of events.
- Educate yourself. You probably don’t know much about Virginia domestic violence laws, the consequences of being convicted, or how best to proceed. Start reading now, and learn all you can.
- Do what the authorities ask. Just because you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse does not mean that you can act out, disobey restraining orders or protection orders, or retaliate. The worst thing you can do right now is have an angry outburst, try to contact your ex, or refuse to leave a property that you have been asked to leave. It’s not fair, but you must play by the rules while this is pending. Being cooperative does NOT mean that you should provide voluntary statements or confer generally with authorities about your matter, or about your relationship with the complaining witness before conferring with counsel.
- Talk to an experienced, assertive domestic violence attorney. Every domestic violence case is different, and the next steps you take should be based on the unique details of your case. Having an experienced, aggressive domestic violence attorney on your side will be key to making the right legal decisions and securing the best outcome possible.
Do you need to speak with a Virginia Beach domestic assault lawyer? At Hofheimer Family Law, we understand the seriousness of your situation and know what to do to protect your rights and your reputation. Call (757) 785-9761 today.