Domestic violence is taken seriously in New Jersey and across the United States. Victims of this abuse could suffer at the hands of their spouse, family member, unmarried significant other, or other party involved in a domestic situation. Authorities have a duty to respond to and investigate reports regarding domestic violence, and much of that investigation could hinge on the word of the victim.
You may have recently been taken into custody after an altercation with your spouse or significant other. The argument may not even have gotten out of hand, but perhaps a neighbor heard yelling or other loud sounds and, out of concern, contacted the authorities. After the officers’ arrival, the alleged victim may have made the situation sound worse than it was, which resulted in police placing you under arrest.
Will you be charged?
Just because authorities place you under arrest does not necessarily mean that you will face formal criminal charges for domestic violence. However, much of the information regarding the situation will likely come from the victim. He or she may make it sound as if you caused physical harm, intimidated or made the person fearful, tried to manipulate, or took other actions that could fall into the category of domestic violence. The person’s statement could act as evidence if the prosecution pursues an indictment on formal charges.
What if the person lied?
In the heat of the moment, a person involved in an altercation could make the situation seem worse than it is in an effort to spite the other party. The alleged victim may think that telling police that you hit him or her would result in police taking you into custody but later releasing you. However, that likely will not happen, even if the victim later tried to recant his or her statement.
Recanting means taking back what he or she initially said. You may think the person could easily do this, but in reality, recanting a statement could have consequences for the person. For example, if the person did lie just to have you arrested, the person could face criminal charges for lying to a police officer if he or she tries to take the statement back. As a result, some individuals may instead try to double down on the lie to protect themselves, which obviously will not bode well for you.
Defending against charges
Additionally, even if the person did recant, authorities likely would not immediately drop the case. They may use other evidence to determine whether charges still suit the situation. Domestic violence cases are complicated, and even if you know that someone has provided false information to the police, you may still end up facing formal charges and needing to present a meaningful criminal defense. Gaining information on your legal options may help you determine your most favorable course of action.