Relationships are complicated. Sometimes it seems that only emotion as powerful as love can turn into hate, anger, and bitterness. When any type of relationship devolves or falls apart, there are inevitably hurt feelings. Emotions run hot, and bad decisions can be made in a heartbeat.
What happens when one side takes things too far? Domestic violence is a serious crime, and it carries with it a stigma and life-altering consequences. Unfortunately, some people choose to weaponize domestic violence and falsely accuse another individual to “get back at them” or hurt them in some way.
Domestic violence allegations are sometimes embellished or patently false.
Law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts take domestic violence accusations very seriously. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you need immediate legal counsel.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, we will listen to you, review the circumstances of your case, and work hard to build a strong defense strategy to protect you and your legal rights. Don’t let false accusations change your life forever, contact us online or call the domestic violence criminal defense lawyers of Teddy, Meekins & Talbert for a confidential case evaluation.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Chances are you’ve heard the term “domestic violence” before. However, many people don’t fully understand what the term means in a legal sense. The United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, defines the term as a pattern of abusive behavior used in a relationship.
Such behavior is used by one person to gain or maintain control over another. There is a wide variety of abuse that can be included under the umbrella of domestic violence.
Those forms of abuse can include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Economic or financial abuse
- Dating violence
Not only does the basic definition include a variety of different forms of abusive patterns, but it also refers to a variety of different types of victims. For many years, domestic violence was used interchangeably with the term “wife abuse” or later “spousal abuse.”
However, the definition of domestic violence can apply to:
- Sexual partners
- Dating partners
- Family members
Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in North Carolina
In North Carolina, charges of domestic violence can land you in criminal court and civil court. You can be denied access to your home. You can be ordered to stay away from your spouse and your children.
In criminal court, the range of penalties can vary widely. Some crimes are considered misdemeanors, while others are felonies that carry stiffer penalties, like fines and prison time. Most domestic violence cases can lead to State and Federal restrictions on your ability to possess a firearm.
Domestic violence allegations are serious. You may be held in jail for up to 48 hours without the ability to post bond. In most cases, you will need an attorney to help you navigate your situation.
In some domestic violence cases, a judge may issue a court order to add additional measures such as rehabilitation and anger management courses. They can also order that restitution be paid to the victim.
The Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
If you have been charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor for domestic charges, you may be wondering what are the next steps. Our attorney, Daniel Talbert explains the difference in severity for both charges and what to expect throughout the legal process.
What to Do If You Have Been Wrongfully Charged with Domestic Violence
If you believe you have been falsely accused of domestic violence for any reason, you may be reeling. The accusation has turned your life upside down, so you may not know where to turn for help. Walking away from an emotional situation is your best move. The next move you need to make is to contact an attorney to advise you.
Some people who have been falsely accused believe that hiring an attorney makes them look guilty. Maybe things will eventually calm down when emotions have time to settle, and cooler heads prevail. However, in circumstances where someone is wrongfully accused of domestic violence, waiting to get an attorney on your side can work against you. While you hope the situation resolves itself, your accuser may be working to build a case against you.
If you’re wondering how to defend against false allegations of domestic violence, Teddy, Meekins & Talbert has the answers.
Here are immediate steps you can take if you have been falsely accused of committing domestic violence:
- Consult an experienced attorney. Your very first phone call should be to an experienced defense attorney. An attorney will be able to review all the facts of your case and give you the crucial legal advice and support you need. At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, we can begin immediate work on building a strong legal defense to protect your rights.
- Protect yourself and your valuables. If you have been living with your accuser or they have access to your possessions, safeguard your valuables. Keep your driver’s license, birth certificate, car titles, tax documents, pay stubs, bank account information, or other important documents in a safe place where only you have access to them.
- Do not contact your accuser. It is important not to contact the person making accusations against you. You may feel compelled to try and understand why this is happening, but it is important not to communicate with them at this time. They may have an attorney working on their behalf, and any type of communication on social media, the phone, or by text message may be used against them in court.
- Get a support system in place. Have a strong support system in place can help keep your spirits up. It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your close family members so that they can help you through this difficult time. It may also help to share your concerns, so that family members aren’t manipulated if the alleged victim tries to reach out to them with their false claims. You may consider talking to a therapist. An objective and an uninvolved listener can be beneficial to your mental health.
Defending Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence
There are many different tactics attorneys use to defend against false accusations of domestic violence in the court system. Only an experienced attorney can determine what the best strategy is for your particular circumstances.
In general, there are two common methods for defending against false allegations of domestic violence. The first is to show that the prosecution cannot prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The second is to build a defense that absolves the defendant of the alleged actions.
Our court system is set up so that the prosecution must prove to a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant has committed a crime. To begin, a prosecutor must prove that there is a relationship between the alleged victim and the defendant that warrants a charge of domestic violence. They must present evidence that shows an intimate relationship between the parties and not just a casual acquaintance.
Next, a prosecutor would need to show that the alleged act, such as assault, rape, stalking, or harassment, actually occurred. Finally, the accuser’s lawyer must then prove that the defendant committed the act. That may not be straightforward. The prosecution must prove multiple elements of the underlying crime. For example, if the accuser falsely claims their partner engaged in stalking, the prosecution must show that there was a pattern of persistent following and unwanted behavior.
Another way we defend against false domestic violence accusations is by presenting evidence that absolves the defendant of the alleged actions. We may find that the allegations have been falsified, so we can prove that the event never happened. In some cases, a defendant may have acted in self-defense, making the true instigator of the violence the alleged victim.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. All parties involved in domestic violence cases are filled with tense emotions. They tend to be complicated as a result. You need a seasoned attorney you can count on to defend you. The attorneys at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert understand what you are going through and can fight to protect you and your rights from false domestic violence accusations.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help Fight Against False Allegations
False accusations of domestic violence can ruin your life, career, and reputation. If you’ve been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, your accuser may already be busy building a case against you.
Don’t wait to build a solid defense to protect yourself, your family, and your best interests. Contact the legal team at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert for legal advice. At our core, we are problem solvers who want to help our clients with their burdens. We’ll take some of the stress and anxiety of the situation off your shoulders and onto ours.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, our team of legal professionals is ready and willing to stand with you. Contact our office today and tell us about your case. We’re ready to listen.