Law Enforcement Response



Many people wonder what will happen if the police or 911 is called to a domestic incident. There isn't just one answer since every situation is different.

MYTH: If the police are called someone is going to jail. This simply isn't true.

TRUTH: If the police are called to a location there must be probable cause to make an arrest. It is not an automatic thing. If a police officer believes that a crime involving domestic violence has been committed then the officer is mandated to arrest the person suspected of committing the offense.

When presented with conflicting stories about what has happened, the officer is authorized to consider prior complaints of domestic violence, injuries, the likelihood of future injuries, and whether one of the parties acted in self-defense.

An officer is also authorized to use every reasonable means to protect the victim and any children such as transporting the victim and/or children to a shelter.

MYTH: If you don't want to file charges the case will 'go away'. Not true.

TRUTH: It is the District Attorney's Office that files cases and pursues them -- not victims or witnesses. Each case is prosecuted based on the totality of evidence available and the circumstances of the criminal act. You may at some point need to come to court. It is also possible that you will be asked to testify. If so, you will have a Victim Advocate who will meet with you ahead of time.

MYTH: If I don't show up for court, the case will 'go away'. Not true.

TRUTH: Failure to appear in court when you have been subpoenaed only prolongs the case and causes you additional problems (such as being found in contempt of court).