Domestic violence allegations are a serious matter. Laws punishing intimate partner violence and violence against other people in your household are important because they work to prevent some of the most common instances of violent crime. However, since many of these allegations are brought without any outside witnesses, and sometimes under dubious circumstances, domestic violence allegations are sometimes false. The Atlantic City domestic violence defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain what you can do to defend against false domestic violence allegations in New Jersey.
How False Domestic Violence Claims Happen
False domestic violence claims can happen in three general ways. The major difference between the three potential forms of false police reports come down to how much evidence of violence or abuse there actually is.
In the first type of case, a spouse or intimate partner may claim that you hit them, but there is no evidence of injury or history of abuse. In these cases, it is really a “he said/she said” situation, where the victim and the accused each make opposing claims. Ultimately, the lack of evidence or injuries is often helpful in getting the charges dropped.
In the second type of case, there may be a history of abuse or evidence that some type of altercation occurred. In these cases, allegations that the accused touched their partner might not be enough to amount to a crime, or evidence of other injuries unrelated to the dispute might serve as “evidence” that the victim tries to use against you. These cases are often tougher to beat, but it is possible.
The third type of case is the most outrageous type of false allegation: false allegations where the victim intentionally injures themself to create “evidence” of abuse. People claiming to be victims may go to extreme lengths, injuring themselves and blaming the injuries on abuse or domestic violence. These cases can be extremely difficult to beat because the victim has “evidence” of the injuries they claim you caused and because a jury is unlikely to believe that someone would do something as outrageous as injure themselves to falsely accuse you.
Disproving False Domestic Abuse Charges in NJ
Domestic abuse charges can only lead to a conviction and penalties if the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime as alleged. This is a very high evidentiary standard, and prosecutors often have very little in the way of evidence to prove the case. Police and EMTs may be able to testify to the injuries they saw – and they may even have pictures of the victim’s injuries to help prove to a jury that the victim was injured. However, prosecutors must also link the injuries to your actions to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused the injuries. This means that the case often relies upon the victim’s testimony.
Many steps can be taken to cast doubt on the alleged victim’s testimony. A history of lying about abuse, convictions for crimes of dishonesty, or drug use or intoxication at the time of the alleged incident can all show a jury that the alleged victim’s testimony might be false or incorrect. Additionally, if your testimony is stronger or you are more believable, the jury may side with you.
Evidence that cuts against the claims of abuse is also vital in your case. It is difficult to assault someone without suffering some injuries yourself. The lack of damage to the skin on your knuckles, the lack of skin under the alleged victim’s fingernails, and a lack of testimony from neighbors that they heard screaming or yelling can often help disprove the testimony against you. Moreover, an alibi can cast doubt on the victim’s claims, such as proof that you were on the phone with someone that didn’t hear a fight while these alleged events occurred or proof that you weren’t at home. This can help cast enough reasonable doubt to help you win the case.
The strongest way to disprove a false allegation would be with concrete evidence that the accuser is lying. In at least one case involving false abuse allegations against a celebrity, evidence of recordings from home surveillance systems recorded the false accuser saying that she would make false claims of abuse. Similarly, text conversations or previous statements from the victim saying “I’ll say you hit me” or other things to that effect could constitute a plan to set you up. Similarly, texts or statements saying the allegations were lies would also disprove their claim. These statements would be excellent evidence to fight the case against you.
Filing Charges for False Allegations Against You
Many victims of false allegations want to see justice served against their accuser. In most cases where someone is falsely accused and the charges are later dropped, the person who falsely accused them does not actually face criminal charges for their false allegations. While this may seem unfair, it is often public policy not to charge these bad eggs because it may prevent real victims from coming forward if there is a chance they could be accused of lying or charged with a crime when they can’t prove their claims. However, you may have options to file civil lawsuits for defamation of character or libel so that you can seek damages for the pain and stress you were put through.
Call Our Domestic Abuse Defense Attorneys for Help with Your Case
The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent defendants charged with a variety of domestic abuse crimes and other serious crimes. If you are facing charges for aggravated assault or other crimes of violence, contact our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers today to set up a free consultation and learn more about how you can fight the charges against you. Our number is (609) 616-4956.