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Legitimate defenses to charges of domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Most of the observances and educational campaigns initiated in recognition of this month are understandably centered on the victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious crime and victims should be given the support they need to leave their abusers and move on in healthy ways. However, there is another population in need of education this Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Individuals who are wrongfully accused of domestic abuse should be made aware of their rights under the law and given support as well.

Not all individuals charged with domestic violence are guilty of this crime. Wrongful convictions can scar those affected for life. It is important to know that legitimate defenses to charges of domestic violence do exist. Therefore, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one is wrongfully charged with committing domestic abuse.

Some individuals commit acts of domestic violence in defense of themselves or their children. If the individual who was harmed posed an imminent threat to the accused, the accused did not initiate the physically aggressive situation and the accused responded proportionally to the threat, a self-defense strategy will likely be successful.

In addition, it is possible that the accused person was wrongfully accused. Though false allegations of abuse are rare, they do occur. Finally, the issue of consent is becoming increasingly important due to a spike in popular media centered on deliberately abusive acts for the purposes of arousal. Domestic violence does not generally occur when the alleged victim sincerely and knowingly consents to certain acts.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, "5 Potential Defenses to Domestic Violence," Aditi Mukherji, Oct. 18, 2013

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