If you have been accused of domestic violence, you are not alone. Ask any criminal defense or family law attorney and they will tell you an uncomfortable truth: there is a high incidence of accusations of domestic violence, many of them false. Here are some tips on ensuring that you get a fair and effective defense in court and that you place yourself in a stronger position moving forward.
- Preserve all the evidence — Your first instinct might be to delete any evidence or accusations from your phone and other devices. But there are two parties to any domestic violence accusation and it is likely that the alleged victim isn’t going to delete anything. Your lawyer will best be able to defend you in court if the accusations and related evidence are documented.
- Don’t communicate with the other party — If you allow yourself to communicate with your accuser, it is possible and perhaps even likely that you will say something that you will regret. These days, it isn’t that hard to record a phone call or to take a screenshot of a text message, which provides your accuser with more ammunition in court.
- Separate yourself from the situation — It can be difficult, especially if you have children or live together, to physically separate yourself from your accuser. Even if you move out or the court orders you to stay away, it may be tempting to swing by your old residence to pick up something like tools or clothes. Don’t do it. The cost of a new tool or shirt is less than the cost of defending yourself against further accusations should your visit result in an altercation.
- Disable FaceID or fingerprint unlock on your devices — With a warrant, the police can likely force you to unlock your phone with a fingerprint or face identification unlock. However, due to the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination, they cannot force you to punch in a password or passcode. One Judge in California extended the Fifth Amendment protections to fingerprints and face unlock. Just to be safe, disable any biometric (face, eye or fingerprint) unlock feature and put a passcode on your phone.
- Get a lawyer —There are few convictions as stigmatizing as one for domestic violence. Overnight, you will lose your right to own firearms and perhaps to practice your profession or to get another job. Also, a domestic violence conviction can complicate your divorce and issues of child custody and visitation. The wisest course of action is to immediately consult with a defense lawyer experienced in handling domestic violence cases.
The stigma of a domestic violence conviction can follow you indefinitely. James Law Firm defends clients against such charges and helps work out positive solutions. To learn about your rights and legal options, please call (501) 375-0900 or contact us online.