Being convicted of domestic violence can not only affect your reputation, but it can also have far-reaching consequences like losing custody of your children or even going to prison. If you are accused of domestic violence, it is critical that you have someone in your corner to defend your case. Even if you are innocent, you don’t want to take the chance that you lose in court. Before you go before the judge, it is important to have a strong defense ready to decrease the chance that you will be found guilty of domestic violence.

If you want to ensure that you aren’t convicted in court of domestic violence, there are five things that you must do to defend yourself.

1. Gather any evidence that proves your innocence

The best chance your have of dropping domestic violence charges against you is to have evidence that proves you aren’t guilty. When it comes to domestic violence, the victims statements to the police often carry more credibility than that of the accused. 

It is important that you write down your recollection of the events leading to the allegations of domestic violence to counter the statement of your accuser. Make sure to keep related videos or text messages that came before or after. You will also want to check to see if there are any social media posts related to the incident that can help prove your side of the story.

2. Hire a defense attorney

If you think that you won’t be found guilty because you aren’t, think again. There are many cases where a person is found guilty of domestic violence even when they haven’t committed a crime. To make sure that you don’t end up losing custody, having a restraining order against you, losing your accessibility to firearms or losing visiting rights to see your children, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to represent you.

You will want to hire a lawyer who is well versed in how to get charges dropped for domestic violence. They will know what defense to build, what type of evidence you will need and, in some instances, they will be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges dropped, or at a minimum, reduced. To minimize the potential of being found guilty, you have to have someone by your side who knows how to win over the court.

3. Get released as quickly as possible 

To make sure that you can help your attorney to defend you in the best way, you will want to secure your release as soon as possible. It is important that you show up to your court dates and that you don’t get into any trouble after you are released. Not having any contact with your accuser is also imperative. You don’t want to do or say anything to make your situation any worse.

4. Make sure that you come to court prepared and dressed appropriately

In many domestic violence cases, the judge has full discretion to make a judgment call. Since humans are fallible when it comes to judgment, it is critical that you always present yourself in the best light in order to sway a decision in your favor. That means showing up on time, not displaying any hostility toward your accuser or the court and being dressed appropriately in business attire. The impression that you make in court often has a huge impact on the outcome of your case. 

5. If you can, have the victim sign an affidavit of non-prosecution

There are times when the victim changes their recollection of events and asks for the charges to be dismissed, but if the prosecutor has already decided to continue with the case, the victim may not ultimately have the prosecution against the defendant stopped. In other words, even if they change their mind, you might still be in court. If your victim is willing to sign an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution, it might be possible for your lawyer to get the case against you dropped. 

Being convicted of domestic violence can come with severe penalties and consequences. Before you go to court to defend yourself, make sure that you have the right professional in your corner to get the case against you dropped. If you think that you don’t need anyone on your side, that might be one of the most costly mistakes you can make. Don’t risk jail time. Hire a reputable attorney to help you tackle your case.