Perhaps few criminal charges can change your life so quickly and as completely as a domestic violence charge. One reason is because many who face such charges never see it coming. They have not been abusive toward their spouses or partners, and they may have done little more than raise their voices during an argument.
Unfortunately, anyone dealing with accusations of domestic abuse must also deal with laws that give the benefit of the doubt to the accuser. In fact, this is often the reason why someone going through a divorce or custody battle may use domestic abuse accusations as a weapon to gain an advantage in these legal proceedings.
How could this happen?
If things between you and your partner have not been going well lately, you have likely had your share of arguments. Perhaps these even became heated from time to time, and you may have let your anger get the best of you. Did you punch a wall, throw something or block the doorway to keep your partner from leaving without resolving the argument?
Without little to no evidence, your partner can notify police that he or she feels unsafe around you, that you made menacing motions or threatened your partner’s wellbeing. In most cases, laws and public policies require police to arrest you and remove you from the home, even if your spouse recants the accusations.
A partner who vindictively accuses you of domestic violence can cause great, long-term damage to your life, including:
- Having you barred from returning to the home, even to collect a change of clothes, money or other belongings
- Cutting you off from any contact with your children
- Damaging your chances of obtaining custody or visitation rights
- Placing your career at risk
- Jeopardizing your personal and professional reputation
Domestic abuse cases are challenging since the laws necessarily protect victims of this kind of violence. Since victims of domestic abuse are often under the control of their abusers, they may change their minds about the charges at the risk of their lives. Therefore, police take the word of the victim, and the legal process continues even if the victim recants. This places you at a decided disadvantage.
You should not expect that you will be able to rely on your solid reputation or explain yourself to escape the consequences of a domestic violence accusation. Having a skilled and aggressive Illinois attorney at your side at the earliest moment after your arrest can improve your chances or protecting your rights and clearing your name.