False Domestic Violence Claims Hurt Our Criminal Justice System
Colorado’s domestic violence laws are designed to protect families and individuals in relationships. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of these laws out of malice or desire for personal gain in divorce proceedings. In the Colorado criminal justice system, false allegations of domestic violence abuse are far too common, taking away credence from true cases of domestic violence.
Why are domestic violence laws abused so frequently? In part, this is due to the broad definition applied to domestic violence, which could encompass a variety of behaviors.
Under state law, domestic violence is defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” This means you can be charged with domestic violence without ever touching or even coming close to the alleged victim. You could be charged with domestic violence for texting or calling someone repeatedly, using obscene language, or breaking their property. You could even be accused of domestic violence for simply raising your voice or making a gesture that is interpreted as threatening.
In addition, Colorado law enforcement officials and prosecutors are generally told to always believe the alleged victim, even if there is minimal proof of violence or harassment. Even if their allegations are inflated or completely false, someone could have you arrested for domestic violence for evidence as trivial as a broken household object, a journal documenting abuse, or torn articles of clothing.
Why People Make False Domestic Violence Claims
One of the major challenges to domestic violence law in Colorado is the incentives it may provide jealous or self-interested victims for making allegations. Alleged domestic violence victims may have a variety of motives, such as:
- Possession of residence. In many cases, alleged victims are given sole possession and use of the family or couple’s once-shared residence, even though you may have to continue making payments.
- Parental responsibility and divorce proceedings. A spouse or partner may make false allegations against you in order to gain leverage in parental responsibility and divorce proceedings. If the court believes you have committed domestic violence against the other parent or your child, the court may award parenting time and responsibilities to the other parent and restrict the amount of contact you are allowed to have with your child.
- Financial reimbursement. In some cases, a spouse or partner may make domestic violence allegations against you in the hopes of being reimbursed for medical care, counseling, and attorney fees.
- Revenge. A jealous spouse or partner may accuse you of domestic violence for revenge, knowing a conviction will leave a stain on your permanent record and cause humiliation and problems in your personal life.
What to Do If You’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence in Colorado
If you have been accused of domestic violence in Colorado, the odds are stacked against you. The courts tend to err on the side of the alleged victim, which means you could be convicted even if the allegations against you are inflated or completely false. If convicted, you could be barred from contacting your family and branded with a criminal record that will follow you around for the rest of your life. As a convicted domestic violence offender, you may be prevented from owning a firearm or securing employment.
If you are arrested for domestic violence, it’s important to invoke your right to remain silent. Saying the wrong thing in this situation could strengthen the case against you. You should remain calm and professional throughout the process. Officials will be looking for and anticipating any signs of anger. After you bond out of jail, do not contact the victim under any circumstances, even if they attempt to contact you. Refrain from calling them, messaging them, or emailing them.
Your next step should be to hire a Denver criminal attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases. Making false domestic violence accusations is against the law, and your accuser could face legal consequences if you are found innocent in court. That’s why it’s so critical to tread carefully in such cases, and fight false allegations with the help of an attorney.
With a lawyer on your side, you can work to protect your rights, preserve your reputation, and clear your name of charges. Get started today by contacing our firm.