The White County Sheriff’s Department recently acknowledged the travesty of false allegations of domestic violence. Despite pointing out that 25% of women have been affected by domestic violence, Detective Chris Isom with White County Sheriff Department pointed out that false allegations drain the limited resources of law enforcement. “But when evidence proves the allegations to be false, we are then faced with investigating potential crimes of perjury and making false claims, which uses even more resources,” Detective Isom stated.
Unfortunately, Detective Isom, although on the right track, missed the most serious consequence of false allegations of domestic violence (and criminal sexual conduct). The most serious consequence of false allegations is that innocent defendants are often wrongfully convicted. When an innocent person is charged based upon false allegations, the wrongfully charged defendant risks loss of reputation, loss of employment, damage to family relations (especially with children), loss of assets, and loss of liberty. It is precisely because allegations of domestic violence can cause such devastating consequences that women will sometimes make a false allegation to gain an advantage in a divorce or in custody proceedings. Men stand to lose custody or visitation based upon the mere allegation of spousal abuse.
The vast majority of criminal defendants are represented by court appointed attorneys. Some court appointed lawyers are good attorneys but, unfortunately, far too many are over burdened, underpaid and have a lack of trial experience. Many times, court appointed lawyers will advise there clients to plead because, in their opinion, a conviction is imminent, because the risks of trial are too great, or because they are afraid to represent a defendant in a jury trial. Most retained lawyers also tend to lean towards advising their client to plead as opposed to really consider fighting for their clients. These attorneys will tell clients who profess their innocence to plead guilty or no contest just to get a case resolved and avoid trial. This is a mockery of the criminal justice system and the United States Constitution.
The advantages of really fighting for a criminal defense client are vast but fighting only is effective if the lawyer is a known, winning fighter. Many court appointed and retained lawyers have no real credibility when they threaten a trial or express an intention to fight a case because the prosecutors know their reputation for pleading their clients. When a true trial lawyer enters a case, and there is a credible threat of an aggressive and zealous defense, unexpected, innovative and favorable resolutions become more probable.
Whether the charge is OWI/DUI, domestic violence, criminal sexual conduct, assault and battery, or any other felony or misdemeanor charge, great things happen with a lawyer who really cares and is not afraid to win.