Domestic violence is a serious issue, and the state of Minnesota understands that gravity. While the vast majority of domestic violence claims are true, a small minority are fabricated.
Dealing with a false accusation can be frightening. Make sure to have an experienced attorney on your side; it’s the first step to ensure the protection of your rights.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence in Minnesota, why someone would make a false claim, and what to do if you are accused of crimes you did not commit.
What Is Domestic Violence?
The state of Minnesota defines “domestic violence” as an assault of a household/family member by another member of the household or family. As the number of domestic violence convictions against a person increase, the penalties increase, too.
Reasons for False Allegations
There are several motivations behind a false domestic violence accusation. The most common include:
Child Custody, Divorce, or Separation Issues
Unfortunately, in the small number of false domestic violence claims that crop up, a parent or guardian may make accusations to gain legal leverage in a separation, divorce, or child custody hearing.
These false claims often arise when children are involved. One parent may paint the other in an unfavorable light to steer a custody decision. Children may be used as pawns to subvert the correct legal process and give the false accuser an upper hand in court. It’s simply a way to work the system.
Unless a claim’s falsity can be shown, the accused person risks two major losses in divorce proceedings: financial and, more painful, custody of any children from their relationship.
Outside of divorce, false claims of domestic violence can still be spiked as revenge.
The accused person must show that no actual violence took place, even if heated arguments or actions that don’t cross the threshold of domestic violence did. This gray area creates a huge hurdle to disprove the accusations.
The Penalties for Domestic Violence in MN
In Minnesota, domestic violence is often charged as domestic assault. It starts as a misdemeanor resulting in jail time of up to 3 months and fines as much as $1,000. However, it can quickly escalate to much harsher penalties, especially if you have prior convictions related to domestic violence.
If one prior domestic assault conviction exists on your record, you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor. You may be punished with a maximum of 12 months in jail and fined $3,000. If your record carries two or more previous convictions, it will be charged as a felony. You can face up to five years behind bars and fines as high as $10,000.
What You Can Do
If you’re dealing with false allegations of domestic violence, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. In our justice system, the person accused of domestic violence must show that it didn’t happen. To battle a false accusation, you need professional help to make your case and prove your innocence.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is 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 named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.