Being falsely accused of domestic violence can be extremely stressful, and it happens more frequently than you may think. And while there can be many reasons why someone may accuse another of domestic violence, the important thing to focus on is what steps you should take if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence.
A domestic violence allegation could lead to removing children from the home, restraining orders, or an order of peace. On top of that, these types of false allegations can be detrimental to the life of the accused, affecting things such as losing your personal belongings, your gun rights, and even your job.
If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, some actions should be taken immediately to prevent undue stress and to ensure that you can build a strong defense. This article will discuss Maryland laws regarding domestic violence and the steps you need to take to begin fighting a false domestic violence charge.
What is Considered Domestic Violence?
In Maryland, domestic violence, also referred to as domestic abuse, are certain crimes that occur within a family or household. People included in this description are people who cohabitate with the accuser, their current or former spouses, those related to them by blood, marriage, or adoption, their parents or stepparents, children or stepchildren, someone they have a child with, and a vulnerable adult.
Per Maryland Family Law Code §4–501, crimes that are considered domestic violence include:
- Child abuse
- Abusing a vulnerable adult (an adult who is unable to care for themselves)
- Rape or other sexual offenses
- False imprisonment
- Revenge porn
- Causing serious bodily harm or causing the victim fear of serious bodily harm
If there is an injured victim, police can arrest a suspect without a warrant as long as the incident is reported within 48 hours. Officers must also reasonably believe that, unless arrested, the accused may cause further injury, tamper with evidence, or cause property damage. They may also make an arrest without a warrant if the person has violated a protective order.
Steps to Take After the False Accusation
#1. Immediately Contact Your Lawyer
Your first step after the false accusations should be to hire a lawyer. Proving that you are innocent after being falsely accused of domestic violence is going to take the help of a qualified, experienced criminal lawyer. The sooner your lawyer can begin your legal defense, the better your chances of success.
Not only can your lawyer help you navigate the legal system, but they will also know certain processes and be better equipped to find evidence to prove your innocence. This may be in the form of expert witnesses that can refute evidence or show how the alleged injuries aren’t consistent with abuse. In addition, they will be able to secure medical evidence from the alleged victim and may also work to dispute the time and place of the alleged incident.
#2. Hide Personal Belongings
If the accusations were malicious, the person who accused you of this crime could manipulate evidence with resources available to them. Be sure to maintain your privacy and limit the person’s access to your resources. This may require you to hide your bank account information, car title, jewelry, electronics, or other valuable items they can quickly liquidate.
#3. Change Your Login Information
If someone falsely accuses you of domestic violence, you can’t put anything past them. So make sure to change the login information, or at least your passwords, to any social media accounts, credit card or bank accounts, electronic devices, email accounts, online shopping platforms, and anything else you wouldn’t want your accuser to be able to access.
#4. Keep Detailed Notes
Until your lawyer advises you otherwise, avoiding contact with your accuser is in your best interest. If this isn’t possible, you should keep detailed notes of all interactions you have with them.
This includes emails, text messages, voice messages, etc. It’s critical that you don’t let anyone else access these notes besides your lawyer, and make sure that your lawyer is present any time you are answering questions related to the case.
Let Widder Law Fight For Your Rights and Your Future
It can seem like an uphill battle trying to prove that you are innocent of a domestic violence charge. And with enough evidence, even an innocent person can be convicted of a crime. Enlisting the help of an experienced lawyer who can create a strong defense on your behalf to prove that the accusations are false and your accuser is as well.
At Widder Law, we know that being charged with a crime can be scary. Especially if you know you are innocent. You don’t have to do this alone. Our team will help keep your mind at ease by guiding you through the legal process and will fight to protect your rights and future.
Schedule a free consultation today. Together, we can take the first steps to the outcome you desire.