Have You Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
While the strong majority of domestic violence charges filed in Florida are based on legitimate evidence, it is not unheard of that one actor might claim domestic abuse has happened when it has not. There are several different reasons why someone might make false allegations of domestic violence, but if you are the unfortunate one being accused, it can be too shocking and sudden for you to react quickly. You need the advice of a knowledgeable attorney on your side to make sure that your rights are protected.
Why Take The Risk?
Domestic violence is defined fairly broadly in Florida; unlike in other states where only violence between spouses qualifies, Florida’s law includes any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death to any “family or household member,” perpetrated by another family or household member. Family or household member is defined not only as spouse and minor children, but also former spouses, people related by blood or marriage, co-parents, and people residing together (or who did reside together) as a family.
What this means is that there are many different types of relationships in play, any one of which might give rise to false allegations for any number of reasons. Perhaps the most commonly seen is to ‘get back’ at the alleged perpetrator by creating potential trouble for them, or getting revenge for some perceived wrong. Another common cause of false allegations is when one parent wants to gain some kind of advantage in a child custody case – an alleged history of domestic violence creates a presumption in Florida law that it is not in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with that parent.
If You Are Charged
If you are charged with domestic violence, it is crucial that you take it seriously, even though you know that you have not committed any crime. The potential consequences are severe, even for a misdemeanor conviction – for example, convictions of this type remain on one’s record and cannot be expunged, meaning that future employers and landlords may be able to see it if they perform a background check. In addition, you may be required to participate in a batterers’ intervention program, at your own expense, as well as paying various costs and fees associated with your case.
In most cases, the first time you will have to defend yourself against allegations is at what is called a “return-hearing” after your alleged victim files for a protection order. It is crucial to find an experienced attorney who can stand up for your rights before that date, because if the order is upheld, it can lead to other problems – for example, if a domestic violence injunction is granted or extended, it can mean that you are required to move out of your home, or relinquish any firearms you own.
Call A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Whatever the reason for false domestic violence allegations being filed against you, they must be dismissed as soon as possible if the evidence is not there. The West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. are ready and willing to try and help. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation.