Written by attorney James C Underhill Jr.

What If I Lied About A Domestic Violence Incident?

I had a question from a person in Fraser, Colorado, about a friend who lied to the police to get her boyfriend arrested. She claimed falsely that he had pushed her. The caller wanted to tell someone she lied but was worried what might happen to her, and to the case against her boyfirend. She wanted to know if she could go to jail for the false report? She wanted to know, since she had a small child, could the child be taken away?

Well, this is a problem. Making a false police report is a crime in every jurisdiction. Testifying in court falsely is a crime. When a person calls the police because they are mad at their boyfriend or spouse, you have to remember (1) you are upset, is this really a police matter?; (2) if the police come to a domestic dispute and one party has touched the other that person is probably going to be arrested, if both were hitting, pushing or shoving the other, then both are likely to be arrested; and (3) tricking the police into arresting your significant other is usually going to make things worse, not better.

HOWEVER, let me perfectly clear you SHOULD CALL THE POLICE IF: (1) someone has committed physical violence; (2) someone is threatening physical violence and you are genuinely afraid that they will follow through and hurt you or someone else; or (3) if you witness physical violence between other people.

Back to the problem. If you want to get the boyfriend out of trouble, then you can approach the DA's office (call the DA assigned to the case) and tell him that you may have been really upset and overstated what happened somewhat. You must be very CAREFUL, because as soon as you start talking the DA is going to be thinking about filing false police complaint charges against you. YOU SHOULD NOT DO THIS without first meeting with an attorney and getting specific advice about all the facts, including the precise charges against the boyfriend. The attorney may well advise that you to let the attorney contact the DA's office for her.

Of course, there is no way to get the arrest off the boyfriend's record, even if the charges are dropped. This is one of the big problems that people often do not consider in the heat of the moment.

As for whether the child would be taken away depends on many things. Merely being charged with most crimes is not enough to cause the state to take a child away. The state cares about the kind of home environment, care giving, etc., that the child receives. If there is a problem there, it is possible to get parenting help from the county, or welfare, food stamps, etc. If the problem is a general lack of parenting ability, excessive drinking, or other failings in providing a safe and nurturing home for the child, that is when social services is going to be thinking about taking a child away. If the sole custody parent goes to jail, social services will normally let another relative care for the child, if there is one available.

Generally, if you and your boyfriend or spouse have such a poor relationship that one of you is calling the police and falsely accusing the other of abuse, then perhaps you should either get counseling or agree that you are not good together, and agree that one of you is moving out. Of course, whether married or not, the parents need to go to the court to get orders for parenting time and support order.

If drinking or drugs are leading to the problems, then AA for the addict and Al-Anon for the non-addict spouse is the place to go, now, not later.

Finally, if your boyfriend is really an abuser, it was just this time that he was innocent, then everyone, including the boyfriend, need to realize that abusers do not quit by themselves. They usually keep getting worse until someone is in the hospital and the abuser is in jail for a longer time.

Some attorneys sell unbundled legal services where you pay for just what you need and can afford. For example, some attorneys sell the paperwork for the court filings, then you can go to court on your own, but knowing that your paperwork is correct. Neighborhood Law Office is a law firm offering unbundled legal services in Colorado and Los Angeles, California.

Good Luck, jim

[email protected]. com

Legal disclaimer: NOTICE— The Legal Information contained in this answer is provided solely for informational purposes to assist the layperson in understanding general legal concepts and terms, it is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or my law firm. This response is provided for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. It is not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issues. Because this website format is limited, all facts necessary for complete advice are not available and the information provided cannot be complete. Questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege.

Additional resources provided by the author

For Al-Anon, Ala-Teen go to; For AA go to; Almost every state bar has materials on domestic abuse and domestic violence, as well as most state court websites. Most courts have free clinics to assist in preparing paperwork for restraining orders, etc.

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