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How to Defend Against False Claims of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a severe offense. If you’ve been falsely accused by a spouse, partner, or household member, you must take the allegations seriously, even if you know you are innocent.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence includes a variety of threatening, harassing, or harmful behaviors committed against one of the following people with whom the alleged attacker has a personal relationship:

  • Current or former spouse or opposite-sex romantic partner
  • Your child
  • Your parent
  • Your co-parent or someone you share a child with
  • Anyone with whom you currently live or you have lived with previously

While North Carolina statute only includes opposite-sex romantic partners in its definition of a personal relationship, it’s important to note that case law has expanded the term and established that same-sex couples also qualify.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Avoiding a wrongful conviction for domestic violence is crucial if you want to avoid the myriad penalties and punishments that are possible in North Carolina. A court has the authority to grant a protective order (PO) and provide other relief to your accuser. Depending on the nature of your relationship, this relief can include the following:

  • Requiring you to vacate your home so that your accuser can continue living there
  • Requiring that you pay for your accuser to obtain alternate housing separate from you
  • Temporarily removing your children from your custody
  • Ordering you to pay spousal and child support
  • Prohibiting you from buying firearms
  • Requiring you to forfeit your firearms
  • Ordering you to attend an abuser treatment program

A protective order can also interfere with employment in certain cases, and violation of a PO is a criminal offense in North Carolina.

Building Your Defense Against Domestic Violence

Uncertainty and apprehension are understandable if you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence. If you’re innocent, take the steps below to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.

  1. Don’t panic. A family law specialist in North Carolina is a valuable asset to your case. Woodruff Family Law Group has family law specialists who can help you build a strong defense.
  2. Start gathering evidence. If you have access to home security footage, medical records, text conversations, or any other evidence, begin collecting it as soon as possible.
  3. Identify witnesses. Is there anyone who saw or heard the alleged domestic violence incident? If so, they may be able to testify as to what actually occurred.
  4. Write down the details. Create a detailed record of the incident while it is still fresh in your mind. Your attorney can use this to develop a strategy.
  5. Discredit your accuser. Can you think of any way to challenge the credibility of your accuser? Share any relevant information about this with your lawyer.

Developing a defense strategy to fight a false domestic violence accusation is easier when you have a family law specialist on your side. The attorneys at Woodruff Family Law Group have extensive experience with domestic violence cases and other types of family law cases, and their expertise is a tremendous asset when your innocence is on the line.