If you are facing accusations of domestic violence, it is your right to defend yourself against these claims. Here are some common, useful defense strategies you can discuss with your attorney.
Prove a Lack of Evidence
Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged offense. Working with your attorney, you can scrutinize all the facts of the case.
For instance, there may be little to no physical evidence of violence, such as:
- Injuries that do not match the accuser’s description of the event
There may also be a lack of eyewitness testimony. If the accuser claims that you used a weapon or that the alleged attack caused property damage, there may not be enough evidence to support this claim.
If the accused acted in self-defense, it may be a valid defense against domestic violence allegations. You always have the right to defend yourself from physical harm. Justified self-defense means that you use reasonable force that is necessary for protection.
Self-defense claims are particularly helpful when you have no other history of abuse or violence. It helps prove that this was a one-time event, and it was a response to an oncoming threat.
Prove the Accusations Are False
In some cases, the alleged victim may have made false accusations out of revenge, jealousy, or other motives. A 2020 YouGov study suggested that as many as 20 million Americans were falsely accused that year.
Your lawyer can present evidence to suggest that the accuser is simply lying. Their investigation could uncover evidence that contradicts the accuser’s version of events. Such evidence may include text messages, emails, photographs, or eyewitness accounts.
Provide an Alibi
An alibi is evidence that the accused was elsewhere when a crime occurred.
Evidence that establishes an alibi includes:
- GPS history
- Cellphone records
- Witness statements
- Surveillance footage
- Social media activity
- Receipts and credit card statements
Claim a Lack of Intent
A successful domestic violence conviction requires proving that you acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. You can counter this by proving your actions were unintentional.
Evidence that supports a lack of intent includes:
- Lack of motive
- Witness statements
- Evidence of a mental health episode
Utah’s Domestic Violence Penalties
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Counseling or therapy
- A no-contact order prohibiting contact with the victim
Two or More Offenses
- Higher fines
- Felony charges
- Longer jail sentences
- Loss of gun ownership rights
- Required participation in domestic violence treatment programs
Penalties will also increase if the alleged attack results in serious bodily harm.
Offenders in Utah may also face civil penalties such as restraining orders, protective orders, and monetary damages for injuries sustained by the victim.
Domestic violence accusations create penalties that go further than the law. They also affect the accused on an interpersonal level.
People can suffer from personal issues such as:
- Loss of job
- Social isolation
- Damage to reputation
- Severe emotional distress
- Loss of friendships or other relations
By now, it should be clear that if you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you must fight these allegations to preserve both your freedom and personal image. Nelson, Taylor & Associates, PLLC is here to help. For a free consultation, call our office today at (801) 901-7046 or contact us online.