When it comes to allegations of family violence, false accusations cause tremendous harm. They harm the person that has been falsely accused; often putting them in jeopardy of jail for a crime they did not commit. They harm the true victims of domestic violence, making their pursuit of justice more difficult. They also siphon resources away from law enforcement and prosecutors that could be focused on real crimes.
Unfortunately, false accusations often result in the prosecution of innocent people. If you find yourself in this situation, it is a mistake to assume you can clear things up on your own. The police are likely to believe the complaining witness, and representing yourself could only make things worse. Attorney Doug Murphy will help you fight false accusations of family violence in Houston.
False Accusations in a Texas Domestic Violence Case
False accusations can occur in domestic violence cases for a variety of reasons. In some cases, an alleged complaining witness will make a false accusation following a heated but non-violent argument. In other cases, the aggressor in a violent confrontation will call the police in an effort to avoid consequences for their own actions. In some cases, false accusations are calculated. They could occur during contentious divorce proceedings or as an effort to sway a judge in a custody decision. Regardless of the reason, these accusations can have devastating consequences.
Texas laws used to prosecute allegations of domestic violence are broad. While the intent was to ensure that acts of abuse do not fall through the cracks by way of a technicality, the unfortunate reality is these broad statutes are often unfair. In many cases, open-ended domestic violence statutes can push prosecutors to bring charges in cases where there is little evidence a crime occurred.
In fact, it takes very little for a person to make a false allegation of family violence. Any member of your household or person you have been romantically involved with could make an allegation without providing any proof whatsoever. In many cases, the police will make an arrest based on nothing but these allegations.
The Permanence of a False Accusation
False accusations are compounded by the fact that the accuser cannot easily undo the damage that is done. That is because an alleged domestic violence victim cannot simply withdraw their accusation or drop criminal charges after they have been filed. Once accusations have been made to law enforcement, only the prosecutor is empowered to dismiss the charges. That does not mean it is futile to have a false accuser attempt to undo the damage they have caused. A dedicated family violence defense attorney could leverage an admission of a false accusation in their effort to have the charges against you dismissed.
False Accusations as a Defense
There are a few options for defending against false accusations in a domestic violence case. Developing a defense in a case involving a false accusation will center around thorough investigative work by your attorney. In many cases, the person making the false accusation will be unable to keep their story straight. Every time they tell their story, there could be notable differences. Your attorney could identify parts of the allegations that were inconsistent between versions of the story.
Ultimately, these cases boil down to who a judge or jury will believe. If your attorney can show that the accuser has repeatedly changed their story, they could convince the jury that they have not been truthful in their allegations.
Other false accusations could be disproven through physical evidence. If the accuser told the police a story involving a violent assault but no evidence of the injuries exists, the jury may not find the story credible. The same is true if the scene where the supposed incident occurred does not match the accusations.
A thorough investigation might even uncover direct evidence that supports your story. Security camera footage could show the allegations were false or that you were not even present at the time of the alleged assault. Witnesses might be able to testify as to what really happened. In the end, the investigation your attorney does on your behalf could make or break your case. Generally, people who are inclined to not tell the truth do so in other areas of their lives. A thorough investigation into the complaining witness will generally show a track record of dishonesty in their everyday lives.
False accusations materialize under many different circumstances. Below, we provide some examples of how these accusations come about.
Fred and Linda are married but separated. Fred wants to remove some of the property from their shared home that was his prior to the marriage. Angered about Fred's intention to remove his property, Linda strikes Fred. Fearing the consequences of what she has done, Linda calls the police and alleges Fred assaulted her.
Consider the same example as above. Fred is concerned that Linda will end up with most of the couple's marital assets in their pending divorce. In an effort to discredit her and obtain leverage during the proceedings, Fred burns himself purposefully with a hot pan. He then calls the police to allege that Linda caused the injury. Given the evidence of an injury and Fred's accusation, police arrest Linda.
Suzanne and Jake have been dating for a month, but Jake wants to break it off. Suzanne is angry with him over the breakup and convinces him to come over to her home to try and reconcile. When he refuses to resume their relationship, she calls the police and alleges she was attacked. Jake is arrested, and Suzanne quickly recants her story. Despite her change of heart, the prosecutor pursues a case against him regardless.
How a Houston Family Violence Defense Attorney Could Help
Facing down a false accusation of family violence is never easy. The consequences of a conviction are severe. Given the risk of a conviction despite a lack of evidence, it is crucial that you seek legal counsel as soon as a false allegation occurs.
Board-certified criminal defense attorney Doug Murphy is a veteran trial attorney with substantial experience taking on domestic violence cases. He understands what it takes to investigate and defend false accusations. To discuss your options, schedule a consultation with the board-certified criminal defense attorneys at the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. right away.