Florida sees its fair share of domestic violence claims and the numbers seem to be rising every year. We are aware that not all of these claims, however, will be based on truth or actual events. Nevertheless, the system must investigate and determine that the claim is not valid. Here’s what you should do if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence.
You have the right to remain silent. You may be compelled to “set the record straight” when the police arrive and give them your side of the events. You are not required to do this. In fact, what you say or do can come back to cause problems for you later since anything you say to the police can be used against you. The only thing you are required to tell the police is to confirm your identity. Domestic Violence situations are one of the few times you may want to tell the police what happened because you may be the victim, and most likely somebody is going to jail from the police visit. Even if you do speak to them, do not admit any violence, only tell what violence was done to you and show any injuries. Otherwise, all you should say is that you would like to speak with your attorney.
You have the right to representation. Do not wait to request an attorney or to reach out and contact an attorney. Time is critical in these kinds of cases, as you will not be released from jail until you are brought before a judge—and you will absolutely want representation at that hearing. You will continue to need representation after the hearing upon your release. It is also your responsibility to be open and honest with your attorney as this allows them to fully defend you. Your confidences are protected by the attorney/client privilege.
Remember: the police CANNOT make deals. Do not be fooled when the police try to get you to sign some type of statement or request that you write out a written statement. Both of these can and WILL be used against you later. You are under no obligation to provide them. Remember also that the police have no authority to negotiate a deal for you or make any type of promises as to outcomes, so if they attempt this tactic to get you to open up, ignore it.
Be polite and courteous. Just because you are not going to give the police any information does not mean you should be belligerent or behave badly when you are being taken into custody, or while you are being held for your hearing. The same thing applies when you are in jail and waiting for your hearing. Your behavior will be monitored closely by the guards—all of whom will report any poor behavior on your part to the judge. Do not give them a reason to make things more difficult for you.
Do not attempt to contact your accuser. This includes calling them from jail as this can be construed as stalking. The phones in the jail are monitored, meaning your “private” conversation is not actually private. Once you are bonded out, you should continue to avoid contacting the accuser or having contact with them. It is very possible that a condition of your release will be to have a protective order in place preventing you from coming within a certain distance of the accuser, contacting them, or contacting their family or friends. Abide by this injunction as violating it can result in bond revocation and being sent back to jail, not to mention it will reflect poorly on your overall case.
Malcolm Anthony has spent decades defending citizens against criminal allegations and helping them exercise their rights under the law. If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, let him help you defend yourself from the charges and protect your rights as an accused. Call him at (904) 285-4LAW for your free consultation today.