What to Do If You Have Been Wrongfully Accused of Domestic Violence
Being convicted of domestic violence in the state of Kentucky can change your life. Not only will a conviction mean that you will be penalized under the law for criminal actions and have a serious conviction on your record for employers to see, but it may also mean that you lose your rightful access to your home, to seeing your children, or even to traveling to certain locations. Because the consequences of a domestic violence conviction are so serious, it is important that you understand what to do following charges, especially if you have been wrongfully accused. At the Ron Aslam Law Office, our legal professionals are ready to help you to defend yourself against domestic violence charges, and will advocate for you throughout the entire process.
Why False Accusations of Domestic Violence Are Made
There are many reasons why individuals may make false claims of domestic violence. These reasons may include a desire to terminate the relationship or marriage, in order to win certain provisions in a divorce settlement, in order to gain custody of children, in order to gain sole possession of home, out of fear that domestic violence will occur in the future, or simply as a way to punish the accused for other behavior. Regardless of the reason behind the accusation, if you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you need to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Kentucky
Domestic violence is an assault against a family member, and under Kentucky’s laws, a “family member” includes a spouse (current or former), child, grandparent or grandchild, or a stepchild. The law further extends to include any person living within the same household when the victim is a child.
If you are convicted of Assault IV degree domestic violence, you will face criminal penalties including jail time and fines. A victim of domestic violence can seek a protective order that prevents you from contacting the person, from seeing your children, from entering your home, and from traveling within a certain distance of the accuser. If you are convicted a subsequent time, you could even be charged with a Class D felony, which carries of penalty of up to five years in prison.
What to Do If You Are Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence
If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, there are a number of dos and don’ts that you should be aware of. Consider the following about actions to take following the wrongful accusation of an act of domestic violence:
- Avoid actions and behaviors that could harm your chances in court. If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, your actions will be closely watched, and anything that you do could be used against you in court. For this reason, it is important that you remain on your best behavior. This means avoiding arguing with your spouse, especially if arguments tend to get heated; refraining from making jokes about domestic violence; maintaining a moderate temperament; avoiding any acts of violence or aggression; and even avoiding substances (like alcohol) that may trigger less-than-ideal behavior.
- Do not talk to police without an attorney present. The police will likely request an interview and try to obtain a statement from you. It is your legal right to refrain from speaking with police and refrain from giving a statement without an attorney present. The officers may try to persuade you that giving a statement now is within your best interest and will protect you from harsher penalties in the future– do not buy into this. If you have been wrongfully accused, you deserve a sound legal defense and knowledgeable advocate on your side.
- Document your case. In order to defend yourself against accusations of domestic violence, you will need to prevent your (accurate) version of events. This means that you should start to document your case as soon as possible while memories are still fresh in your mind. Get a notebook and start writing down as much as you can remember about interactions with the accuser, including details specific to the date/incident of domestic violence of which you are being accused.
- Talk to witnesses who can speak to your defense. After you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, it is probably a good idea to refrain from speaking to your accuser until the matter has been resolved. However, if you do need to speak to the accuser, make sure you do so in the presence of witnesses, preferably an attorney. This way, your accuser cannot falsify information about these interactions moving forward. In addition to talking to the accuser in the presence of witnesses only, you should also start to make a list of witnesses who can speak to your defense. For example, other family or household members, neighbors, friends, teachers, and members of your church or community may be able to provide testimony of your good nature, and state that they never witnessed or suspected domestic violence.
- Familiarize yourself with the law. Many people who are charged with a crime, wrongfully or not, are under the impression that they are helpless against the law. It is important that you understand that being charged with a crime does not mean that you will necessarily be convicted of that crime. You have the right to defend yourself, to refrain from giving incriminating statements, and to be represented by a competent lawyer.
- Contact an attorney. Perhaps the most important thing that you can do after being wrongfully accused of domestic violence in Kentucky is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney who understands the law will be able to aid you in building a strong case and understanding your rights.
Contact Our Kentucky Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today
Being wrongfully accused of domestic violence in Kentucky is a very serious situation. When you are falsely accused, do not wait to get help – contact our experienced Kentucky domestic violence defense attorney at the Ron Aslam Law Office today. Your initial consultation is completely free. Call us at (502) 581-1676.