According to Vince Imhoff, managing partner of Imhoff & Associates, PC, false domestic abuse accusations can be made for a number of reasons, including disagreements over child custody and property settlement claims. "It is a way to kick the other spouse out," Imhoff says. "People know how to abuse it [domestic violence accusations] and use it as a tool. They can use a false domestic abuse claim to get someone out of the house. Then the accused has to stay away for 24 hours or until the court date.
"There are several things that go on in making a domestic abuse accusation. First, it is easy to make the accusation. Second, the state has an interest in arresting people for domestic violence because they get federal money per arrest, so they have a vested interest in acting on an accusation that has thin evidence."
Unfortunately, once charges have been filed, domestic violence cases usually go to court. They generally only end either when a jury comes back with a verdict or the accused agrees to a plea agreement. Imhoff says that it is can be difficult for defendants to fight domestic abuse charges. "It takes a lot of gumption for a defendant to want to keep fighting. Often they get worn down by the system or they can't afford to miss more work. It can be expensive for the defendant so they decide to take a plea agreement."
Imhoff says that there are many things to take into account when mounting a domestic violence defense. "We look at corroborating evidence—what other evidence is around," Imhoff says. "We look for physical signs of abuse, see if there has been past abuse. We find out if they are in the midst of a divorce and what the witnesses, if there are any, have to say.
If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, Imhoff says that you should fight the charges. "It's worthwhile not to give up," Imhoff says. "It's not as bleak as you think it is. It is possible to win and stand up and say, 'This did not happen.' Once you are over the initial shock, stand tall, fight and make sure that your name is cleared."
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