The consequences of being falsely accused of domestic violence or abuse can be far-reaching. The allegations alone can destroy a person’s reputation and family. The alleged abuser could lose their job and face challenges looking for a new one. A conviction could also result in fines and imprisonment or probation.
Fortunately, there are legal options for defending yourself against domestic violence allegations and charges. You should hire a criminal defense attorney immediately to start preparing your case.
What Is Domestic Violence?
According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, domestic abuse and violence include actions such as:
- Physical abuse
- Intimidation of a dependent
- Interference with personal liberty
- Willful deprivation
Violence against any member of a person’s household or family constitutes domestic abuse. Under the statute, those people include:
- Former spouses
- Children or stepchildren
- Other people related by blood or by a current or prior marriage
- People with a child in common
- People with disabilities and their caregivers
- People who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child
- People who share or formerly shared a household
- People who have or had a dating or engagement relationship
Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/12-3.2 refers to domestic violence and abuse as domestic battery. Domestic battery is a Class A misdemeanor. Sentencing can include up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
However, the offense becomes a Class 4 felony if the defendant has a prior conviction for specific crimes, such as aggravated domestic battery, criminal sexual assault, or kidnapping. The sentence can include no more than a $25,000 fine and may include between one and three years in prison.
How to Handle False Allegations of Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, false accusations of domestic violence are more common than you might think. They often occur during divorce proceedings. Sometimes, one spouse will accuse the other of domestic abuse to achieve specific goals, such as:
- Winning a child custody battle
- Seeking revenge or punishment
- Getting their spouse out of their life
- Obtaining a marital asset
You have certain rights after being arrested or charged with domestic violence in Illinois. You should follow the steps below to fight against the allegations and try to avoid conviction.
Hire an Attorney
You should hire a domestic violence criminal defense lawyer following an arrest. You have a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. You should assert those rights immediately.
Your lawyer can represent you during the legal process and ensure that you don’t do or say anything that could negatively affect your case. They will advise you of your options and guide you through the complicated legal process.
Review the Conditions of a Restraining Order
The alleged victim might have filed a restraining order against you. Although the accusations are false, they could use the restraining order as evidence against you.
It’s crucial to follow all conditions of the order during your ongoing case. The person who filed might try to trick you into meeting with them to discuss the situation. No matter what you do, keep your distance from them. Violating any of the restraining order conditions could lead to additional criminal charges and legal consequences.
Keep Detailed Notes
Maintain documentation of all information related to the case. You can gather copies of cell phone records, emails, and other forms of communication between you and the alleged abuse victim.
You can also take detailed notes of the alleged incidents, including dates, times, and locations. Advise your lawyer of where you were when the abuse took place. They could secure video surveillance footage or other evidence to prove you have a solid alibi.
Be sure never to change the details of your story. If you have maintained your innocence, stand by your version of events. Telling one story and then changing the details later could strengthen the prosecutor’s case. They could argue that you’re unreliable or claim that you lied about what happened.
Remain Composed During Court Proceedings
Stay calm whenever you have to appear in court. The prosecution’s job is to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You must maintain your composure and avoid angry outbursts. It will be challenging to prove you’re not a violent person if you yell or disrespect the prosecutor during questioning.
Contact Sexner & Associates LLC Today
Since 1990, Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has defended clients against criminal charges in Chicago and across Illinois. When you hire us, we will review your case and create a strategy to try to achieve a desirable outcome. Our team knows how to defend against domestic violence allegations. You can count on us to protect your rights and fight to secure your freedom.
If you face domestic violence charges, call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (800) 996-4824 for your free consultation with a dedicated domestic abuse/violence lawyer based in the Chicago metropolitan area.