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How can you defend against domestic violence claims?

If you've been accused of domestic violence or violent behavior, knowing how to protect yourself is important. You'll need to work with your attorney to devise a defensive strategy that protects your good name. You should know that there are some things that could happen initially on the behalf of the alleged victim, but these are civil orders, not criminal charges.

For example, if the alleged victim asks for a protective order and it's granted, then you could be asked to leave the home. The protective order is a civil order, so it doesn't mean you've been found guilty or that you'll go to jail. Instead, you simply can't be around that person when you aren't in court.

Another thing to know is that a police officer has the ability to arrest you for assault or battery claims in the home, even if he or she doesn't have a warrant. There must be probable cause to do this. For instance, if the other party is claiming you hit him or her, there should be some evidence of that violence. However, if you're still arrested without probable cause, then you could make a complaint and work with your attorney to have the arrest removed from your record for the failure to follow proper procedures.

When a prosecutor works with an alleged victim, that attorney will ask him or her for evidence of wrongdoing. If there is no evidence, then it may be hard for them to make a case against you. Your attorney should be able to find out about the evidence against you, so he or she can suggest the best defensive options.

Source: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, "Domestic Violence Victims in Virginia," accessed Oct. 23, 2015

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