A domestic violence situation occurs whenever there is abuse, a threat, or any kind of violent behavior between people who are in an intimate relationship. While this means that domestic violence crimes are just ordinary crimes, committed against certain people, the ways that police respond to allegations of domestic violence is radically different from the ways they respond to allegations of a similar crime, outside of the domestic violence context.
Typical Police Response to a Domestic Violence Situation
Even though all domestic violence situations are unique, involving their own specific set of people, histories, and circumstances, the way that they escalate into an arrest and a criminal charge is all too often the same.
After your accuser or a bystander call 911 to report a domestic disturbance, police arrive to sort out the situation. One of the first things that the responding officers will do is separate you from your accuser. Not only does this minimize contact between the two of you, but it allows law enforcement to interview you each, separately. While this often leads to two conflicting stories about what happened – a “he said, she said” situation – police do not need to resolve the discrepancies between what you are saying and what your accuser is saying. Instead, all that police need is to establish probable cause that a crime of domestic violence happened. And all that they need to establish this is your accuser's story that it did.
Once police have probable cause to believe that domestic violence happened, they will arrest you and you will be taken to jail.
Two Important Things to Remember If You Get Arrested for Domestic Violence
Getting arrested is never a nice experience. It can be humiliating, frustrating, and angering all at once. It is even worse when you know that you did not do what you are being accused of doing. Because getting arrested is a highly emotional time, it can be important and helpful to remember two things:
- In the state of Washington, it is mandatory for the police officers who respond to a domestic violence disturbance to make an arrest. Once they have gotten probable cause that domestic violence happened – something very easily and quickly done – they do not have a choice but to put the handcuffs on someone.
- An arrest is nothing more than police officers, acting in the heat of the moment, deciding that you may have committed a crime. This is a huge step from prosecutors deciding, from the relaxed atmosphere of their desk, that you committed a crime and should be charged for it, and another huge step from a conviction in a court of law that you committed that crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
If you have gotten arrested for domestic violence, it is important to know that it is only the first step in a long process, and you are still a long way from a conviction. However, fighting every step of the way is crucial, and hiring a solid domestic violence defense attorney like Steve Karimi is the best way to stop an arrest from turning into a conviction. Contact his Seattle law office online or by calling (206) 621-8777.