Domestic violence is a very sensitive charge. Since domestic violence offenses are reserved for unlawful physical threats or contact with a family member, roommate, partner, or spouse, incidents often involve high emotion and torn relationships. False accusations can easily fly in the heat of the moment.

If you find yourself facing domestic violence accusations, you have no time to waste in working on your defense. Read the rest of the blog now to get five key steps you should take after you’ve been charged.

Don’t Talk With Police Without Representation.

It may be tempting to try to argue your side of the case right away or explain what happened to police, but it is crucial that you remember anything you say can be used against you. Police may hear only a few key phrases or statements from your story—like “she started it” or “he said this to me earlier”—and run with those to build a case for prosecutors to use. Less is better when it comes to giving statements to police. Be polite, calm, and cordial, but avoid giving any information about yourself or the incidents that happened. You don’t have to answer any questions from police without a lawyer present. Hold fast to this rule!

Stay Away from Your Accuser—Even if You Live Together.

Trying to reach out to or visit the place where the alleged victim is can lead to serious complications in your case. That even applies when the accuser is currently living in your home or apartment. For the time being, simply find somewhere else to stay to ensure there are no interactions. This is important to ensure you aren’t giving them anything else to use against you and because you will likely have a restraining order or no contact order issued. That means you cannot come in a certain range of the person’s home, cannot call them, cannot try to contact them, etc. or else you could face additional penalties.

Get Legal Counsel As Soon as Possible.

Trying to figure out a domestic violence defense can be difficult—especially with all the emotion floating around. While you may think your testimony holds up, it is vital that you get a Denver domestic violence defense lawyer on your case who can craft a legally sound strategy. The sooner you get legal counsel, the sooner you can have peace of mind knowing your rights will remain protected. An attorney can also walk you through your legal options, possible defenses, penalties you may be up against, and even work to negotiate a plea bargain or lesser charges in some cases.

Be Actively Involved in Your Case: Gather Evidence.

Immediately after the incident, it is important that you do everything possible to gather as much evidence as you can. No matter how serious or minor the charge may seem, you should write down the order of events as best as possible. Try to get key details like what the argument was about, how it started, who initiated the events, if either party was drinking or taking drugs, etc. The more details you can give your attorney to work with, the better.

Prepare for Court—Keep Your Composure.

Getting ready for court can be a little nerve-racking. The good news is that when you have a skilled defense lawyer, they can help you get prepared for court. From walking you through what to expect to going over defense options, retaining an attorney can be a crucial component to ensuring you are ready and prepared for court. The more prepared you are, the more calm and composed you will likely be when the day comes.