Using The Discovery Process To Provide Evidence Of False Allegations Of Domestic Violence

Posted on: 16 April 2015


Being falsely charged with domestic violence is a devastating event for the accused and it happens more often than you may realize. As many as 700,000 people are wrongfully arrested for domestic violence each year and up to 70% of temporary restraining orders are filed based on trivial or false accusations. Learn more about why this happens and how important the discovery process is should you be falsely accused.

When The Alleged Victim Is Actually Being Manipulative

There are some situations where the "victim" is manipulating the "abuser" and using the courts to do it. Many false accusations happen because the accuser is attempting to control the accused in some way, including:

  • forcing the accused to give up residence in the family home through the use of a restraining order.
  • pressing charges and then offering to drop them if the accused gives up his or her girlfriend, returns home, or does something else that the accuser wants.
  • leveraging the abuse charges against another area of legal contention, such as alimony, child support, child custody, or property division.
  • purposefully putting financial stress on the accused, knowing that the money that will go toward fighting the charges will not be available to pursue other legal matters, like child custody.

In other situations, the alleged victim may also be savvy enough to take advantage of the various benefits and services available to those who have been victims of actual abuse. In some locations, being the alleged victim of domestic violence will automatically put someone at the top of the list for federally-funded housing assistance, free utility service, new furniture, food benefits and cash assistance.

How The Discovery Process Is Important

A lot of domestic violence cases end up being one person's word against another person's word. However, the more evidence that you can bring into court that supports your version of events, the better. Your attorney can use what as known as the "discovery process" to gather evidence that can be presented in court that will help you prove that you are the victim of false charges. 

Your attorney may look for:

  • hospital records (or the lack thereof) showing that your accuser never sought treatment for his or her injuries, or attributed the injuries to some other event prior to his or her interactions with you.
  • a list of witnesses to the alleged abuse.
  • copies of any evidence the accuser gave when filing the report, or when applying for the restraining order.
  • medical records indicating a history of mental instability on the part of the accuser.
  • telephone recordings and text message records that show threats from the accuser - especially threats where the accuser promises in vague ways to make the accuser sorry for his or her actions, refusal to leave the family home, or unwillingness to give in on some other issue.
  • proof that the alleged victim has substantially benefited in some way - such as achieving a previously demonstrated goal in family court (like sole custody of a minor child) - where the abuse charge was a consideration in that judge's decisions.

Essentially, your attorney is going to look for anything that lends support to your version of events and make it clear that you intend to fight the charges as hard as you can. Sometimes that will be enough to convince a prosecutor to drop a weak case, or cause someone who has made a false accusation to back down rather than face hard questions in court. If that happens, your attorney may even be able to get the charges expunged, so that they don't continue to haunt you every time someone runs a background check on you.

Because there's often a fairly short time-frame between when the charges are leveled and when the case goes to court, don't waste time: contact a domestic violence attorney who specializes in domestic violence claims right away. 

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