Do False Allegations of Domestic Violence Really Happen in Colorado?
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
A recent report from the United Nations said that the most dangerous place for women to be was their homes – largely due to domestic partner violence. This doesn’t just apply to faraway countries, either. According to reports, one in three women in the United States has experienced some sort of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.
Women, however, are not the only victims of domestic violence. Men’s rights groups throughout the country want to get the word out about men who are falsely accused. One accusation, they argue, threatens to ruin a man’s life.
It’s not an exaggeration. Especially here in Colorado, where we hit domestic violence offenders with pretty serious penalties.
Sure, you might say, but do false allegations really occur? Isn’t that just a myth?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. In this post, we’re going to cover the possible reasons why someone might accuse another of domestic violence. Understanding your accuser’s possible motives, you can help in creating a more effective defense strategy.
Why Would Someone in Colorado Falsely Accuse Another of Domestic Violence?
To Protect Themselves
Let’s say that someone is abusive, but their victim fights back and both the abuser and the victim are injured. It is quite possible that the abuser could contact the police and preemptively claim domestic violence to protect themselves. Particularly if the accuser is a woman who looks battered and distressed, the alleged abuser will have an uphill battle to fight in the courtroom.
There are many ways to approach this situation, but most require evidence of the accuser’s abuse. Talk to a criminal defense lawyer about how you can seek justice in this case and walk away without penalties as a victim of domestic violence.
For Full Custody
The Center for Violence-Free Relationships has reported that 40% of their domestic violence cases involve children under the age of 18. Accusations of domestic violence can play a big part in divorce and child custody cases, because every state wants what is best for its children. In many states, the chances of parents with a history of domestic violence getting full custody are slim to none.
Custody battles can bring up serious emotions, and many parents may feel that they have to do whatever it takes to get custody of their children.
Unfortunately, a person with certain mental illnesses may say or do things that they don’t mean. A manic Twitter rant or similar episode may lead to them saying things that sound like an accusation of domestic violence, and law enforcement officials might believe them. Even if they don’t, they could feel obligated to follow through with charges.
If you have been accused of domestic violence by a partner who is suffering from a mental illness, you will have to gather very solid evidence to show that you are innocent. Pointing fingers and calling someone “crazy” won’t get you very far in the courtroom.
There Was a Misunderstanding
Abusers and alleged victims are not the only people who can make false accusations. If neighbors or witnesses call in a disturbance, law enforcement officials will show up to the scene and may make an arrest.
Unfortunately, it may not be easy to tell “who started it” and who is the real victim in the situation. It is entirely possible that the victim will be charged based on what officers see at the moment they walk in, or even based on any biases (typically subconscious) that the officers might have about what domestic violence victims look like.
They Were Just Following the Law
Domestic violence cases are severely underreported. Due to this, many states have taken it upon themselves to require professionals to report signs of domestic violence to law enforcement. The professionals who must report vary: in some states, teachers and education administrators must report signs of abuser; in others, medical professionals must report.
These laws are not always clear to everyone. In fact, Colorado recently changed our mandatory reporting laws. Doctors and nurses no longer have to report domestic violence. Despite this, it may not stop certain professionals who believe it is their duty to report signs of abuse.
This is unfortunate, because signs of abuse are wide and varied, ranging from bruises and more severe injuries to certain types of questionable behavior. As you might imagine, these signs can be the result of any number of things, so it is quite easy for a misunderstanding to result in a domestic violence charge and force the accused – and the victim – to try to explain what really happened in court.
What Coloradans Should Do If Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence
While, false accusations are just a small issue in the larger picture of domestic violence in America, they do happen.
If you are falsely accused, it is important to start building an aggressive defense strategy and gathering evidence to support your innocence. Your charges and potential conviction may have an impact on how the justice system attempts to tackle the issue of domestic violence in the state of Colorado. Fight for justice – and for any victims of false accusations throughout the state.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.