According to the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the woman who accused football player Jonathan Taylor of domestic violence has recanted her story. As a result, she has been charged by law enforcement with false reporting.
Dismissal from the Team
Just before the charges were rescinded, Alabama Coach Nick Saban announced the defensive tackle had been dismissed from the team for charges of charged with domestic violence third-degree assault and domestic violence third-degree criminal mischief. The authorities will now review the charges. It’s still unclear if Taylor will be reinstated to the team.
Taylor was dismissed from Georgia before he was dismissed from that school in July 2014 following two arrests, one of them for domestic violence. He spent last season at a junior college in Mississippi before signing with the Crimson Tide in January, a move that elicited complaints because of his history.
False Domestic Violence Accusations
According to the release, the 24-year old accuser told police she had been in a verbal confrontation with Taylor when the 6-foot-4, 335-pound player turned on her, causing injury to her neck, as well as damage to the property in her apartment. After the accusations, police arrested Taylor.
The accuser contacted police to recant her claims telling investigators that the football player had not harmed her during the incident. After further interviews, she maintained she had lied about the details of the incident.
Previous Domestic Violence Charges
Last summer, Taylor was dismissed from the University of Georgia football team because of domestic violence related arrest. He was allowed to enroll at Alabama in January after a season playing at a junior college. When he enrolled in the Alabama football program, coach Saban said Taylor was worthy of a second chance. But it seems there was ” a zero tolerance policy” when it came to Taylor.
“Jonathan Taylor has been dismissed from the team and is no longer a part of our program,” Saban said in the statement regarding his dismissal from the team. “This will still need to go through the legal process, but when he was given an opportunity here, it was under strict guidelines and we made it clear there was a zero tolerance policy.”
Domestic Violence Cases
According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, every year more than 1 million women are victimized by an intimate partner. Domestic violence is terrible. But what about those that are wrongly accused? Often times domestic violence is used as a means of gaining control over a partner. Playing the “domestic abuse card” can bring with it some damaging legal consequences. Those accused of domestic violence might fear they have no way to defend themselves. But if you have been wrongly accused of committing domestic violence, there is something you can do.
False Accusations of Domestic Violence
If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, you need to treat the accusations seriously, regardless of how ridiculous they may seem. There are very serious consequences you face. For example, Taylor lost his role on the team even though the allegations made against him were recanted. You can lose your job, face fines, be incarcerated, lose your driver’s license or business license if you have one. You can also lose custody of your children, your right to collect spousal support. Here are the first things you need to do if you have been accused of domestic violence:
Hire An Attorney
A criminal defense attorney that works with domestic violence cases will be able to respond to and defend you against the false allegations that have been made about you.
Stay away from your accuser until you have been given a legal chance to defend yourself against the allegations. There should be an evidentiary hearing where you can voice your innocence. It’s crucial you stay away so that the accuser will not be allowed to make more accusations against you.
If you have to be around the accuser (because of employment reasons or child custody arrangements), make sure there is always a third party present that can act as a witness. Again, you do not want to face new accusation. Try to limit interaction as much as possible if you do have to interact. This means cutting off communication in every form that is not necessary for standard communication (due to work or child custody arrangements). Personal emails and texts should state the facts. Do not contact the person via social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you must engage with this person, remember that everything said can be held against you in a court of law, so try to remain on task, try to limit communication to written form so that there is a paper trail, and stick to the point (without becoming emotional) when you are communicating.
Control Your Emotions
Emotions should not drive the situation any further. Being accused of domestic violence can be an infuriating situation. You might be compelled to call the person up on the phone or approach them to defend yourself. But you need to be responsible about how you protect yourself. Keeping a calm head, and hiring a lawyer, is sufficient enough when it comes to contesting domestic violence claims. Do not give your accuser any more “evidence” that can be used against you in a court of law. If you need to contact them for any reason, just state the facts ad leave emotion out of it.
Defenses to False Accusations
A skilled defense attorney will be able to offer a strong domestic violence defense.
Here are some potential defenses for defendants wrongly charged of domestic violence:
- Wrong suspect. You can establish innocence if a defendant claims someone else was responsible. Innocence can be established if the accused was not at the alleged location at the time of the incident and also has a reliable alibi that can claim they were not at the location. A person cannot commit domestic violence if they were not in the location where the domestic violence took place.
- Deliberately false allegations. Sometimes individuals make false allegations of domestic violence against partners out of anger, spite, or need for revenge. This often occurs in child custody disputes and divorce cases. Defense attorneys search for inconsistencies between the accuser’s story and the police accounts or witness records. Often times inconsistencies are clearly evident: stating the wrong time or date, claiming a person was there or not. Other times it will take a skilled defense attorney with a keen eye to be able to spot inconsistencies.
- Self-defense. Defendants often claim they acted out of self-defense, or in an attempt to protect their children. This can be an effective defense if the defendant felt they were being threatened and they were not the initial aggressor. For this defense to be effective, the response that is being claimed as “domestic violence” will need to be proportional to the initial threat. For example: if the defendant shot at the accuser, it will need to be proven that the accuser was coming at the defendant with a gun, and the defendant felt they needed to fire a weapon in self defense. But if the accuser did not have a gun, and was completely unarmed, then it is harder to prove that shooting the gun is proportional to the initial threat.
- Consent. While consent is rare, if an individual had consented to an act, then that can function as defense. This is often used in cases of battery, such as the person willingly decided to engage in a fight. This can be a very difficult and almost impossible defense to prove in cases of domestic violence as no person ever wants to “give consent” to domestic violence.
- Lack of proof. A defendant’s best defense is when a prosecutor fails to meet the requisite burden of proof. This means that the prosecutor is unable to prove that domestic violence actually occurred.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will work with you to build a strong case that can save your reputation, as well as protect your freedom.
Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. These crimes carry serious consequences if you are convicted. A criminal defense attorney will help build your defense case to ensure protection from these consequences. They will be able to advise you on the legal system and provide premier criminal defense representation for you. At the Law Office of Peter Berlin we understand the difficulties that criminal charges can bring, and we know that without your freedom, nothing else matters.