October is domestic violence awareness month and many communities around the state are taking part in an effort to raise awareness about the effect of domestic violence on our communities. At one candlelight vigil in Howell, Michigan a speaker noted that in the last 10 years “2.6 million women have been seriously injured through domestic violence.” The vigil was put on by a Livingston County non-profit organization that promotes the prevention of domestic assault, sexual assault and child abuse. National Public Radio has joined the effort, with a series of radio spots and articles on domestic violence support and intervention.
Domestic violence is a serious crime, carrying with it significant consequences and penalties. Unfortunately, as a Michigan criminal defense attorney I have seen these allegations used far too often as a weapon in custody battles, divorce and other domestic disputes. False allegations do a disservice both to legitimate victims and may significantly harm the lives of the innocent wrongfully accused. As noted by the manager of a Washtenaw County Domestic Aggression program, “Although most batterers are male, most men aren’t batterers.” Too often wrongful allegations are made, throwing the accused’s life into a tailspin, negatively affecting a person’s life almost immediately, and many times for life. Once domestic violence allegations are made those accused are often assumed to be guilty by the public, and face not only the disruption of their family life, jail time and court ordered rehabilitation, but also have their reputation damaged and live with the stigma of being accused of domestic assault. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to consult with an experienced domestic violence attorney immediately to protect your future and your freedom.
Although it is important to call attention to legitimate cases of domestic abuse and make efforts to eliminate this behavior, many times these allegations are made against an individual in the heat of an argument. Later, after the emotion of situation has died down the alleged victim may wish to drop the charges. Unfortunately this is not possible – once the allegations have been made and the criminal process put in motion only a prosecutor has the authority to drop the charges. An aggressive domestic violence defense lawyer is necessary to fight to keep the charges off you record and keep you out of jail.
Further, many times those accused of domestic violence may face restraining protective orders and be prohibited from returning home or contacting their children or other family members. These immediate and harsh consequences may occur without the accused being able to defend himself.
Actual instances of domestic violence are serious charges and steps to increase awareness and empower victims are commendable. However, false accusations of domestic assault that are made with the hidden motivations harm both the accused and those women and men who face true instances of domestic violence.
For more information or if you are facing charges of domestic violence or a restraining order, contact the dedicated Michigan criminal defense firm of Grabel & Associates for an immediate response.