Virginia native, former Miss Virginia and 2012 Miss United States, Brittany Nicole Poteet is back in the news1, but not in a way any beauty pageant winner wants. For the third time in six years, she is contending with charges of domestic violence. Whether in her native Virginia or her adopted home in Australia, Poteet seems to have difficulty controlling her emotions. While the 2013 charges were dropped2 when her then-boyfriend “couldn’t remember” what she did to him, she now faces charges of assaulting her current boyfriend. Only the courts can ultimately decide her guilt or innocence. If you have ever been — or fear you might be — the victim of false claims of domestic violence, you need to know how to fight those falsehoods.
Concerned About False Claims of Spousal Abuse? Prepare for the Worst.
If you are in the midst of a divorce, your wife may throw out all sorts of outlandish claims to “see what sticks.” One of those claims could be domestic violence. Just as beauty pageant contestants backstage smear Vaseline on their teeth to keep smiling through every strut and twirl onstage, you have to put on a brave face while preparing behind the scenes.
Begin by securing the things you hold dear. We are not talking about sentimental things like your 9th Place trophy from 5th grade Field Day. We mean your car title, birth certificate, Social Security card, passport and credit cards. If your wife steals those and distracts you with domestic violence charges, you have two battles on two fronts.
Tell everyone. Explain to family members, confidants, best friends, and religious leaders that your wife’s behavior is showing that she cannot regulate her emotions. Perhaps she is making wild accusations, and trying to stir up trouble with your children. As bad as you may feel, share this information before she tries to undermine you with claims that you hit her, or your children.
Don’t Get Framed as an Abuser. Protect Your Digital Extremities with Your Life.
While any attempt she makes to get onto password-protected devices is illegal under Virginia law, she could still try. It will not matter in the public sphere if she turns out to have legally or illegally gotten hold of your emails, texts, photos or other materials, because the damage to your reputation will have already been done.
Change all your passwords. Re-protect your bank ATM card, smart phone, notebook, laptop, and anything else that uses a password.
Keep your cell phone on you. One talent you may not know she could have: getting into your cell phone, sending herself a violent, threatening message “from you,” and then saving it on her phone as evidence against you. Proving she planted it could be virtually impossible.
Some pageants have featured some weird talents. Carrie Lee Davis, Miss South Carolina 19923, apparently found herself standing behind a marimba that, clearly, just happened to be onstage. Without any perceivable rehearsal, talent or training of any kind, she whacked away at it with mallets.
You can decide for yourself if it is music. Anyway, she assaulted those poor marimba keys in a way that reminds us of Code of Virginia § 18.2-57.2, Assault and battery against a family or household member. The penalty for this Class 6 felony is a minimum of one year but not more than five years’ imprisonment; a serious, sobering punishment. This is why, especially in the heat of a divorce proceeding, you need to fight aggressively against false claims. You could end up with the divorce you want but with five years in prison to think how lucky you are not to be married anymore.
Strategize a Good Defense
We can recommend several strategies to fight false, damaging claims of domestic abuse.
Be a pacifist. Avoid even the hint that you could ever commit such an egregious crime. Do not take your wife’s bait when she tries to rile you up or drive a wedge between you and your children.
Keep a retinue. Have witnesses around anytime you and she might be discussing something that could turn unpleasant.
Assume the bar is very low. Simple actions, often taken in the heat of emotions, could come back to haunt you:
- Hanging up during a phone call
- Subtly limiting her entrance or exit from your property (driveway, front door, bedroom door)
- Punching a wall, breaking a dish, or tearing up legal papers or photographs
- Using phrases like, “I could kill for a beer,” or “Touch my Camaro IROC-Z and die.”
Hire a Domestic Violence Lawyer for Men
We’re not saying our lawyers could win any beauty contests (with the exception of Attorney Swango, of course), but we can protect you against false claims of domestic violence. Call The Firm for Men at 757-383-9184 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can advise you on what to say, what not to say, and how to defend yourself. Contact our firm today.