Domestic violence is horrible, and all too often goes unreported resulting in tragedy. However, false claims of domestic violence against an accused can result in serious harm as well. Unfortunately, some divorces become so acrimonious that a party makes false criminal accusations against the other. Sometimes, the accuser makes the accusations to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody dispute, or in retaliation for a perceived grievance. If this happens, it can be devastating to the accused party. If you are the one falsely accused, it is natural to be angry, hurt, and fearful. However, having control over your emotions is essential to avoid making the situation worse.
These cases often come to us after a party has been served with an order of protection. In New York, an order of protection is issued by the court to restrict the access of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. The order may also direct the alleged offender to stay away from and not to injure, threaten or harass the person(s) named in the order. It could also require the alleged offender to move out of the common home.
In some cases, police officers may have shown up at the couple’s home to escort the accused party from the premises. The police are required to enforce an order of protection to prevent any potential acts of violence from occurring. However, this does not mean the party has been found guilty or has lost his or her rights. Unfortunately, those accused of violence may become belligerent to the police or the accuser out of anger and fear, which can cause additional criminal actions against him or her.
If you are served with an order of protection, you should accept the terms of the order, and follow the directions of the police. But the most important next step is to contact an attorney immediately. The order of protection continues until there is a hearing on the allegations to which the order of protection was granted. This hearing is the accused’s opportunity to give his or her version of the events alleged to have transpired. It is essential to have good legal representation both at the hearing and continuing throughout the divorce and custody proceedings to protect the accused.
In addition, it is important to deal with the emotional aspects of this situation. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, feelings of rage, depression and anxiety are common. The best thing to do is to contact a mental health professional to help you deal with the trauma of a false accusation. Your attorney should be able to make a few recommendations. Counseling will also help you develop tactics for handling continuing contact with your accuser as you go through your divorce and custody issues.
While a false accusation is terrible, an experienced attorney and mental health professional can provide invaluable assistance to get you through the situation.
Contact us for a consultation to learn how we can help you achieve the best result in your divorce or custody matter.