If you are falsely accused of a domestic violence crime before or during a child custody proceeding, your first step is to arrange a consultation – as quickly as possible – with a Las Vegas domestic violence attorney.
How do you defend yourself against such a damaging, false accusation? Judges in Nevada understand the impact that domestic violence can have on children. They are reluctant to place a child in the custody of a parent who has exhibited abusive or violent behavior.
If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence before or during a child custody battle, or if you are falsely accused of domestic violence in the future, what are your rights? What steps can you take to defend yourself? When should you contact a Las Vegas domestic violence lawyer?
If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of false domestic violence claims, child custody, and your rights under Nevada law, you will find the answers you may need.
What is Considered in a Custody Case?
In child custody cases in Nevada, judges may consider the following factors, among others, when making a child custody decision:
- each parent’s parenting abilities, moral fitness, and relationship with the child
- each parent’s physical and mental health
- each parent’s ability to discipline and to provide daily schedules for the child
- each parent’s knowledge of the child’s friends, teachers, and activities
- each parent’s willingness to communicate with the other parent
- any evidence of parental violence, abuse, neglect, or issues with alcohol or drugs
- any false claims that either parent has made against the other parent
- the child’s home, school, community, and the child’s preference
- any other factors that may affect a child’s well-being
How Are Domestic Violence Claims Handled in Nevada?
Law enforcement authorities and the criminal courts in Nevada take every domestic violence allegation seriously, because any failure to deal seriously with these complaints may lead to tragedy. The criminal courts in this state will not excuse domestic violence for any reason.
In order to win the custody of your child, you must avoid a conviction for domestic violence, and if you are accused of a domestic violence crime in or near the Las Vegas area, you must be represented and advised – as quickly as possible – by a Las Vegas domestic violence attorney.
If you are wrongly charged with a domestic violence crime, and if the charge cannot be dismissed and your case goes to trial, you should understand that emotions and prejudices inevitably influence witnesses and jurors in domestic violence proceedings.
How Are Domestic Violence Crimes Penalized?
A first “battery domestic violence” charge in Nevada is a misdemeanor charge if no weapons were involved and no strangulation or substantial harm took place. A conviction for battery domestic violence may be penalized with jail, a fine, community service, and court-ordered counseling. A conviction will also result in you losing your ability to own a firearm for the rest of your life.
How do you dispute a fabricated domestic violence allegation? It helps to remember that in order to convict you, a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and in many domestic violence cases, that is a challenge.
In many of these cases, it is not easy to separate the truth from the lies. Your lawyer will fight for the truth, but a phony domestic violence accusation is like any other false claim. At trial, what the “truth” is may be decided by total strangers – a panel of jurors.
What Else Will Your Defense Lawyer Do for You?
If you are the victim of a fabricated domestic violence allegation, and if you are involved in – or if you anticipate – a child custody battle, you must be defended by a Las Vegas attorney who knows how to discredit a phony accusation and explain to the court what really happened.
After examining the particulars of a fabricated domestic violence charge, your attorney will craft a defense strategy that is aggressive, appropriate, and effective.
If you are innocent, your lawyer will ask the judge to dismiss the charge. If the charge cannot be dismissed, your lawyer will take your case to trial and fight vigorously on your behalf for a not guilty verdict.
What Can Happen in a Custody Case?
Family law judges in Nevada make child custody decisions based on what they believe is a child’s best interests, so divorcing spouses sometimes make phony domestic violence claims in order to win primary child custody.
Although Nevada law initially presumes that each parent should have joint physical and legal custody of their child, if a judge finds “clear and convincing evidence” of domestic violence, the law then presumes that the other parent should be awarded primary physical custody.
It can be quite difficult to overcome the presumption that you should not be awarded the custody of your child, so avoiding a conviction for domestic violence is imperative if you are fighting for – or if you expect to fight for – your child’s custody.
What Other Rights Can You Lose?
As a parent, your parental rights are your most important legal rights, but your parental rights are not the only rights you may lose if you are convicted of domestic violence in the State of Nevada.
Under federal law, if you receive a domestic violence conviction – whether the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony – you automatically lose the right to carry, own, possess, or use a firearm, and it is a lifetime ban unless you eventually seek and receive a full pardon.
Along with the loss of your parental and firearm rights, a conviction for domestic violence will affect your:
- employment and housing opportunities
- applications to attend some universities and colleges
- ability to obtain a loan or to obtain public benefits
- right to acquire and hold a professional license
- immigration status (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
While Your Case is Pending
Listed below are two important recommendations if you are charged with a crime of domestic violence here in the Las Vegas area:
- Do not confront the person who has accused you of domestic violence. While your case is pending, everything you do will be closely scrutinized.
- Avoid Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Anything you say there could be misinterpreted and used against you.
If your domestic violence case goes to trial, your Las Vegas defense lawyer will protect your rights, work to discredit the allegation against you, and bring the case to its best possible outcome.
If you are charged with domestic violence in or near the Las Vegas area, and especially if you expect to be involved in a child custody battle, arrange at once to speak with a Las Vegas domestic violence lawyer.