Being accused of hurting a partner, an ex, your own child, or a family member can leave you wondering what's going on. It's a situation that has to be dealt with competently, and you should follow these three tips to improve your chances of doing so.
Is It a Criminal Allegation?
The first order of business is distinguishing people making statements about you from real criminal allegations. While statements certainly have the potential to lead to a criminal investigation, many times folks are just sounding off on how they feel. If the situation is at this point, the important thing to do is to avoid engaging with the allegations. Don't talk about them with accusers, and do not discuss them in any form of electronic communications, such as text messages or Facebook comments. Anything you say has the potential to be used to back a real criminal complaint.
If things have gotten to the point that you've had a discussion with someone from the government, usually a police officer or a social worker, then it's time to get in touch with a domestic violence attorney. Do not let them convince you that they just want to have a casual conversation. You have the right to a criminal lawyer, and you're should inform them you're exercising it. Don't answer any questions until your attorney is present.
Keep Track of All Communications
Every form of communication has the potential to influence your case. Seemingly innocuous texts or phone messages may be used to demonstrate that an accuser was perfectly comfortable with you even after the period when they claim acts of domestic violence happened.
Under no circumstances should you delete or destroy communications. Even if they seem highly incriminating, it's better to ask a domestic violence attorney how to confront them than it is to risk being accused of a process crime like obstruction of justice. It's okay if some communications are lost during the period when you were unaware that a criminal case was coming, but try to preserve them as soon as you start worrying that you might be investigated.
Unplug from Accusers
To the extent possible, cease interacting with any accusers or people who support them. If you need to deal with a family situation, such as child visitation, you may need to retain the services of a family attorney, too. This lawyer can act as a go-between for handling non-criminal concerns.