Family Law

Common Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

Having to defend yourself against a domestic violence accusation can be overwhelming due to the extent of the legal and social ramifications that arise. Accused individuals are required to build a firm defense not only to avoid legal repercussions, but to minimize the damage against their reputation. Here, we’ll look into common defenses put forth by individuals charged in a domestic violence case to provide insight into potential legal strategies.



Self-defense is one of the staple defenses the law allows for in domestic violence cases. It is only a valid claim when the accused held a belief that there was a present risk of injury and the reaction they use was needed to deal with the risk. It must be shown in court that the belief of imminent danger was reasonable, and the reaction was proportionate to the threat perception then in existence.

False Accusations

Unfortunately, false accusations are not uncommon in domestic violence cases, arising from messy personal disputes or divorce battles. Lawyers will defend against such claims by proving that the incident never occurred or was made with malice. 

This defense is often stronger than most, because it essentially comes down to one person’s word against another’s. Text messages, emails, and witness statements can be used by the defense team to attack the credibility of the accuser and draw attention to any inconsistencies in their account.

An Alibi

An alibi defense may be in play when the accused can show they were somewhere else at the time the violence in question took place. Strong evidence must be presented in this defense such as video evidence, credit card receipts, or eyewitness testimonies that show the accused was indeed at a different location. 

An alibi can be the best available defense. However, an alibi must be supported by the necessary indicators and validations that can only be obtained from reliable sources.

De Minimis Infractions

In some instances, the defense for may contend that the alleged domestic violence was actually a de minimis infraction, which means the act was too small or trivial to warrant the regular legal charges that come with domestic violence. While this is rarer, this defense could be applicable when the conduct was not physically harmful or created a justifiable fear. Given the vast differences in the legal standards for what is de minimis, this can be a very complex defense to pursue.


In some domestic violence cases, consent can be a possible defense, particularly in regards to actions that are part of an activity agreed upon by all parties involved. But this defense is nuanced, as consent can be a tricky thing to prove. Consent is not recognized when a victim is forced or threatened into an act.

Getting through a defense in a domestic violence can be complex and requires an in-depth understanding of the facts and the law. The specific facts and circumstances usually dictate which types of defenses are available in a particular case, and the proof required will depend on evidentiary standards and precedent in the jurisdiction where the case is being prosecuted. If you have been charged, it is imperative that you obtain experienced legal representation. Experienced domestic violence attorneys in Concord, MA help to know the appropriate defenses and ensure that your rights are protected during your legal ordeal.

If you or someone you know is accused or charged with domestic violence, it is imperative to speak to a defense attorney right away. To learn more about laws regarding real or personal property and get help with this complex area of law, contact legal aid services or domestic violence support organizations for assistance with this difficult and important issue.

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