What Happens When Police Answer A Domestic Violence Call?
If the police are called for a domestic violence situation, they will have an obligation to investigate the situation. If you are the subject of a domestic violence situation and the police begin questioning you, it is highly suggested that you exercise your Constitutional rights and not talk them. Tell the police you would like to first speak with your attorney. If you are subsequently arrested, find an attorney that can review the case and aggressively fight for you so it does not become a conviction on your record.
When the police come to your house on a domestic violence call it is typical that someone involved in the situation will be taken out of the house. Even if you are the one being taken, do not admit anything or explain or answer anything. Before doing so, you should always speak with an attorney as there are several ways of defending these situations.
If police are called to handle a situation between a couple with children, it is possible that both adults could be arrested. If all caretaking adults are arrested and there are minors in the house, the police will likely call Child Protective Services (CPS) to take custody of the children. This is usually a temporary arrangement until CPS and/or the police can find other family for them to stay with. These arrangements are usually determined by the police officers involved in the case that day.
If an adult is jailed and charged with domestic violence, one of the typical rules of release on their own recognizance is that the person cannot have contact with the victim. They may also be prohibited from returning to the scene of the arrest. If you wish to have these release conditions modified, then you can always contact your attorney to discuss.
If the wife or husband does not want the other person back home, then they may be prohibited from contacting them. In other cases, the victim may be able to contact the State or the police to express that they want this person to be able to come back home.
Even if a victim wishes to have a person to return home, the police and prosecutors involved in the case may not allow a person to return. From the minute the police become involved in a domestic violence situation, that case is put in the legal system and it becomes a case of the State vs. the charged. The State has the right to continue to move forward with a case, even against the wishes of the victim.
Release conditions for the person charged with domestic violence are determined by the court reviewing the case. The judge or commissioner will look at the type of charge and the circumstances of the case and then determine what they feel is the appropriate release conditions. The more serious the allegation, the more harsh the release conditions may be.
Besides domestic violence charges, one may also be charge with disorderly conduct, which is basically disturbing the peace. For instance, you can be a protestor and can be charged with disorderly conduct under certain circumstances. A person could simply say, “Hey, he disturbed my peace.” Then, it is possible that you may be arrested for disorderly conduct. It is always good to talk to your attorney in these situations as well.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions
Domestic violence conviction consequences depend on the type of case that it is. There are misdemeanor domestic violence cases and felony domestic violence cases. Within each of these, there is a wide range of how serious the case can be. Obviously, if physical violence is involved it becomes very serious and can result in a felony conviction.
The vast majority of domestic violence cases are misdemeanors. In these cases, possible consequences include domestic violence counseling and anger management counseling.
The goal with cases involving first time offenders is to get a diversion result that does not go on the person’s long term record. In our law office, we try to get diversion on first time domestic violence cases where the State can prove a case. If the State cannot prove a case, we will fight that case very aggressively all the way to the end.
In Arizona, there is ‘three strikes’ rule for misdemeanor domestic violence cases. If you have two prior domestic violence convictions that are both misdemeanors, the third offense can be charged as a felony. If you continue to get arrested for disorderly conduct because you argue with your wife, know that the third arrest could turn into a felony because of the multiple prior misdemeanor convictions.