You and your spouse were recently in an argument, which is common for many couples. However, much to your surprise, law enforcement serves you with a protection order, despite not having laid a hand on your wife or children. You may be worried that authorities will show up intending to arrest you for domestic violence. This is a concern that you share with many other Coloradans after a domestic dispute. You may have done nothing wrong, but that might not prevent you from facing domestic violence charges based on nothing more than your spouse's accusations.
Wrongful domestic violence reports are disturbingly common, in fact. Authorities believe that each year, law enforcement falsely arrest up to 700,000 people in the U.S., and judges issue 1.5 million temporary protective orders based on untrue allegations of abuse. Being served with a protection order can force you out of your home and away from your children. You may not have the chance to tell your side of the story to a judge for several weeks until your hearing appointment to contest the protection order, and there is no guarantee the judge will believe you.
How do you protect yourself against accusations of domestic violence? The following tips might help:
- Don't try representing yourself. The stakes are too high. Talk with a lawyer as soon as possible.
- Save any evidence that might prove your innocence, such as text messages, emails or voicemails in which your spouse threatens to have you arrested.
- Ask for help from someone who can testify to your good character.
- Remain calm and cooperative when talking to police officers, the judge and other authorities.
It can be a frustrating and uncertain time when dealing with false accusations of abuse. Losing your children and home are not the only things you have to worry about - a domestic violence conviction might land you with a fine or a prison sentence, and you will lose your right to own a firearm. It is important, therefore, to seek assistance from a criminal defense attorney if your significant other has accused you of abuse.