Domestic violence is a significant problem in Minnesota and other states. However, the way the system handles domestic violence has created a new problem: false allegations.
If you’re facing false allegations of domestic violence, you’re not alone. These allegations are often made to gain legal leverage, but can have devastating legal and civil consequences for the falsely accused.
Therefore, we’ve put together a guide covering why false allegations happen, the fallout you could face if accused, and what to do if you’re in this situation.
Why False Domestic Violence Allegations Happen in Minnesota
People make false domestic violence allegations for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is for some form of personal gain. Below are the most common reasons false allegations of domestic violence are made.
Divorce Cases and Breakups
If you have a contentious relationship with your ex, he or she may make false allegations of domestic violence. A vindictive former partner may choose to fabricate stories of domestic violence simply to retaliate, or in divorce cases to make the judge more sensitive to their viewpoint.
Because every allegation of domestic violence is taken seriously, an unsubstantiated claim can still result in serious legal and civil consequences. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney to determine the best course of action, even for allegations that are entirely fabricated.
False allegations of domestic violence may be used in an attempt to acquire the accused’s real estate property in a civil case. If the “victim” and the defendant live together, the defendant would be forced to relocate if found guilty of domestic violence, or to pay for alternative housing for the “victim.”
Civil cases of this nature can quickly get complex, so it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as you suspect that there may be foul play.
Child Custody Cases
In child custody cases, one parent may make up stories of domestic abuse to themselves or the children in order to get full custody.
An experienced divorce attorney or family lawyer will have seen many difficult custody cases similar to yours, and will help you successfully navigate your case even in this unfair situation.
How a Minnesota Protective Order Can be Used Against You
If you are accused of domestic violence, you will likely be placed under a protective order that prohibits contact of any form with the alleged victim, and with any children you have together.
A protective order against you can also severely limit your freedoms. In some cases, the “victim” may falsely request a protective order simply to remove you from the home and keep you from contacting your children. You could also face restrictions on firearm possession.
Even if the protective order is requested under false pretenses, you can still face serious legal consequences for violating its terms.
If an order of protection is falsely filed against you, consult with a Minnesota defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help ensure that you don’t inadvertently violate the order, and help to have the order lifted.
Clearing Your Name of Minnesota Domestic Violence Allegations
Actual domestic violence is unfortunately very common — the leading cause of female homicides in Minnesota, in fact. In order to protect genuine victims of domestic violence from serious bodily harm, Minnesota takes every allegation of domestic violence seriously.
For example, say that Beth is being abused by her boyfriend, and fearing for her safety, calls the police. The police don’t take her allegation seriously, so no arrest is made, and no protective order is issued. Beth is then left unprotected from her boyfriend, who is furious because she called the police in the first place, and ends up seriously harming her in retaliation.
In this situation, the police could be held accountable for any injury Beth suffers after reporting the domestic violence. Therefore, even improbable claims of domestic violence are considered a true threat, as failure to take action could result in serious bodily harm or even the death of the victim.
Although these laws are in place for good reason, the other side of the coin is that false allegations of domestic violence are particularly damaging, and can be used to retaliate or gain legal leverage.
This means that even if you are unquestionably innocent, you’ll need to take immediate action to clear your name.
First and foremost, make sure that you absolutely respect any protective orders, even if you feel that the issuance of this order is bogus. Secondly, consult with a competent attorney, who can evaluate the specifics of your case and help determine the best way forward.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).