Domestic violence has only come to public attention in the last few decades. In that time, it has proven to be a very effective weapon against wrongful behavior that was once virtually ignored. Some people now allege that the pendulum has swung too far the other way, resulting in many false accusations.   

What Is Domestic Violence?

You can summarize domestic violence as abuse committed by one person against another person in a current or former family or intimate relationship. This relationship might include a boyfriend/girlfriend, a spouse or ex-spouse, parents of the same child (even if not married), roommates, biological or adopted children or grandchildren, or a sibling.

What is frightening about domestic violence law is the scope of prohibited activities. Some of these activities are criminal, but many seem to amount to mere unkindness. Following are some examples of behavior that a court might characterize as domestic violence: 

  • Raping or beating your spouse or intimate partner;
  • Stalking your partner or ex-partner;
  • Threatening to injure or kill pets;
  • Threatening to destroy valuable property;
  • Guilt manipulation designed to elicit sexual favors;
  • Pressuring a partner into unwanted or “kinky” sexual experiences;
  • Body shaming your partner;
  • Verbal abuse or humiliation;
  • “Gaslighting” or otherwise attacking your partner’s self-confidence;
  • Pressuring your partner to drink alcohol or take recreational drugs with you;
  • Calling your partner nasty names;
  • Threatening to defame your partner; or
  • Using coercion to isolate your partner socially. 

Some of these activities are likely to constitute domestic violence if they form a consistent behavior pattern. The point is that the definition of domestic violence is so broad that it may be impossible to refute an untrue allegation. For example, how do you refute an allegation that you body-shame your partner in private?

Motivations for False Accusations

The most common motivations for false accusations of domestic violence are:

  • To gain an advantage in child custody proceedings;
  • To gain an advantage in a divorce settlement, especially if the marital estate is large;
  • To “get even” with you; or
  • To drive you out of their life forever.

Many other purposes might motivate someone to make a false allegation of domestic violence. 

Consequences of a False Domestic Violence Accusation

The potential consequences of a false allegation of domestic violence can be life-altering. They might include:

  • Being forced to move out of your home;
  • Loss of custody of your children;
  • A restraining order against you;
  • Jail time if you violate a restraining order, even unintentionally;
  • Loss of employment and professional licensing;
  • A criminal record;
  • Loss of friends and reputation.

The preceding is only the tip of the iceberg of the possible negative consequences of a domestic violence accusation.

How To Protect Yourself Against False Accusations

There is no foolproof way to beat a false allegation of domestic violence. Even “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t always work. That said, here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself:

  • Change all your internet and device passwords. Imagine your partner gaining access to your email, drafting threatening messages, sending them from your account to theirs, and then using them as evidence against you.
  • Be careful what you say on social media. Operate under the assumption that “anything you post (including photos) can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
  • Contest a restraining order request but strictly comply with the terms of any order that a court actually issues. Don’t let anyone goad or sweet-talk you into violating its terms, even if it is an invitation to reconciliation from your former partner.
  • Confide in your friends and relatives. Don’t let your accuser’s words be the only words they hear on the matter.
  • Don’t let anger control you, especially in court or on a phone call that someone might be recording.
  • Gather evidence in your favor. A lawyer can help you with this.

Overall, strive to be a better person than your accuser and to win through the example you set. The earlier you anticipate a false accusation of domestic violence, the better off you will be.

A California Family Lawyer Can Give You Further Advice

Hiring a domestic violence defense lawyer is probably the most critical step you can take to protect yourself against false allegations of domestic violence. You can be confident that your attorney will not reveal private information without your permission because attorney-client privilege prevents courts from using such information agaInst you.

Contact Our Domestic Violence Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego domestic violence lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108