Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to be falsely accused of domestic violence. The reasons for a false accusation of domestic violence are far ranging.
A partner or ex-partner may make the accusation out of spite, or as a reason to end a relationship. Domestic violence may also be falsely alleged as a reason to prevent a parent seeing their children if a marriage or relationship has broken down.
False accusations of domestic violence do not only occur between a partner or spouse. If a child has an injury or they are acting in a way which causes concern, you could be suspected of committing domestic violence against the child, leading to the involvement of the relevant authorities.
Parents, children and siblings can also falsely accuse you of committing domestic violence.
If you have been accused of committing domestic violence you are likely to be extremely concerned about the implications of the false accusation, plus the potential effects on your reputation and your future.
You should be aware of your rights and seek specialist legal representation as soon as you can. This will ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Your legal rights if you are falsely accused of domestic violence
If you are accused of committing domestic violence, you may either be arrested and taken to the police station, or asked to attend your local police station for a Caution Plus 3 – also known as a voluntary interview.
You are entitled to seek legal advice whether you are arrested or attend a voluntary interview. Our experienced domestic violence defence solicitors will be able to advise you at every stage of the police interview procedure, whatever your individual circumstances.
If you are facing any accusation of domestic violence, you may fear being kept away from your children and your home.
We are experienced in defending cases of falsely accused domestic assault and dealing with the issues that can arise when bail conditions need to be considered, maybe by applying to the court to vary existing conditions of bail.
We understand that each case is unique, complex, emotional and highly sensitive and we will support and advise you throughout.
Even when the case is not supported by the initial complainant – perhaps because they have changed their mind or decided that they do not wish to proceed to court – it is possible that the police and prosecution may wish to continue with the case.
They may also try and apply to the court for a Domestic Violence Prevention Order, which can be imposed without there even being a court case. Such Orders can prevent you from returning home or contacting your children or partner and breaching the Order is a further criminal offence for which you can be arrested if you are alleged to have breached it.
If you are told that the police are seeking a Domestic Violence Prevention Order (DVPO), you should seek immediate expert legal advice.
Bail conditions for false accusations of domestic violence
If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, the police may bail you, specifying a date when you must return to the police station. It’s crucial you do attend on the specified date, as a failure to do so could result in being charged with an offence know as a ‘failure to surrender’, leading to your arrest.
Bail conditions which specify you must stay away from the individual who has accused you of the offence are common. If you are granted bail ahead of a court hearing, you’re likely to be prevented from visiting your address and seeing your children or other family members.
The team of domestic assault solicitors at Lawtons can apply to the court for the set bail conditions to be varied or lifted.
Sentencing for cases of domestic violence
If you are found guilty of domestic violence after a trial, you will appear before the court to be sentenced. Sentencing for domestic violence is intended to act as both a punishment and a deterrent to prevent repeat offences.
The court may impose a restraining order which, on occasion, will be considered without a conviction.
The sentence for the offence will take into account a range of penalties depending upon the nature of the offence and the outcome desired by the parties involved.
Our solicitors can request that the court considers a community penalty with an emphasis on support and rehabilitation, rather than a prison sentence.
The implications of a false accusation of domestic violence for the accuser
If the person who has accused you of committing domestic violence is found to have done so falsely, in rare cases they can be found guilty of committing a criminal offence.
If your accuser is found to have falsified evidence, they may be found guilty of perverting the course of justice. If they give false evidence against you in court, they could be found guilty of committing perjury. These are rarely considered and hard to establish.
Both perverting the course of justice and perjury are serious criminal offences, with penalties involving a prison sentence.
What to do if you are falsely accused of domestic violence
If you have been falsely accused of committing domestic violence, seek legal advice as soon as possible.
We can provide support at every stage of the legal proceedings in this complex area of the law. Get in touch with us to ensure that the best outcome for your case.