Domestic violence allegations can have a dramatic effect on your life, impacting your freedom, child custody and visitation rights, access to your own home and much more. In addition, domestic violence charges may pit your word against your accuser’s, which can make it even more difficult to know how to deal with these types of criminal charges.
The term “domestic violence” refers to any assault — including aggravated and sexual assault — in addition to battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, stalking or any other criminal act that causes the physical injury of a household or family member.
If you have been accused of domestic violence charges, keep in mind a few basic guidelines. Domestic violence charges are usually defended in one of two ways:
- Attempting to demonstrate that the charges are false or that the prosecution has not proved its case
- By offering a defense that absolves the accused of his or her actions
If you choose to attack the prosecutor’s case, you need to understand exactly what the prosecutor is likely to try to prove. Generally, to convict someone on domestic violence charges, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the victim was a member of the class that domestic violence laws are designed to protect (typically spouses or household members), that the assault actually occurred, that the defendant committed the act and that every other element of the alleged crime actually took place.
In some situations, those accused of domestic violence can be absolved of their actions only by asserting that the actions were carried out in self-defense. This assertion also requires proving that the alleged victim instigated the violence.