Though the domestic violence laws in Illinois are meant to protect families, abuse of domestic violence laws can harm the very families they were designed to keep safe. False domestic violence allegations can be harmful to the accused, their families, and the Illinois criminal justice system in general.
Regrettably, false domestic violence allegations are not uncommon both state- and nationwide.
The prevalence of false allegations may be partially attributed to the broad definition of domestic violence in many states.Click To Tweet
Illinois law defines domestic violence as any act of physical abuse, harassment, or intimidation of another member of the household or family. This definition covers a wide range of physical and psychological crimes, including assault, stalking, threatening, or repeatedly contacting a victim.
What does this mean for your domestic violence case? You can be charged for domestic violence without lifting a finger against the alleged victim, or even without ever being in the same room as them. Domestic violence charges can arise from incidents as seemingly trivial as repeated text messages, a minor disagreement, or a gesture that could be interpreted as aggressive.
Additionally, in domestic violence cases, it is up to the officer’s discretion whether to arrest you. In essence, if the police receive a report of a domestic violence crime, they will dispatch a law enforcement officer to the scene of the alleged crime and will make an arrest if there is probable cause of domestic violence.
If you have been falsely accused, arrested, or charged with domestic violence, you may be understandably feeling upset, angry, and scared. However, it is of the utmost importance that you do not forfeit your rights and allow a false domestic violence allegation to prevail. If you are wrongly convicted for a domestic violence crime, the consequences will not only be devastating to you and your family, but harmful to the integrity of the Illinois criminal justice system.
How False Domestic Violence Allegations Affect You
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction go even beyond lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines to affect your future career, education, housing situation, and civil rights. A domestic violence conviction may leave a stain on your permanent record that can follow you for the rest of your life. Your record may be accessible to the general public, including prospective employers, landlords, college boards, and loan officers. With a domestic violence conviction permanently etched into your record, you may have difficulty obtaining a job, securing housing, or seeking a secondary education.
If you are a teacher, doctor, or other professional, you may lose your license or financial bond. After losing such qualifications, you may be barred from continuing to practice your profession or trade. In addition, a domestic violence conviction may prevent you from holding a government job or running for public office. You may also lose your job if you work in the police force, military, construction industry, or any other industry that requires the use of firearms or explosives.
After being convicted of a domestic violence crime, you may be required to enroll and pay for treatment, including psychiatric care, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and anger management.
How False Domestic Violence Allegations Could Affect Your Family
If you are convicted of domestic violence, a judge may issue a protective order that restricts you from spending time with or making decisions regarding your children. Such an order could prevent you from entering your home, while requiring you to continue to make mortgage, insurance, utility, and medical care payments for your household.
Once you are convicted of domestic violence, the court may restrict contact with your children to a supervised location or public areas. If the court believes you pose a threat to your child’s physical or emotional health, they may eliminate or limit your visitation rights to special situations.
How False Domestic Violence Allegations Affect the Illinois Criminal Justice System
One of the biggest flaws in the Illinois domestic violence system is that it provides incentives to self-interested or malicious victims to make false claims. Far too often, alleged victims use Illinois domestic violence laws to gain leverage in divorce proceedings or enact revenge. False allegations of domestic violence take away credence from true cases of domestic violence, making it harder for genuine victims to get the support they need.
Don’t let a false domestic violence allegation affect your future, your family, and the integrity of the Illinois criminal justice system. Contact a Chicago domestic violence defense lawyer, who can help you protect your rights and fight back against this grave injustice.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.