November 1, 2017

Police Report Filed for Domestic Violence: Now What?

police report filed for domestic violence?

When a police report is filed for domestic violence and allegations occur, it is normal for emotions to run high. A lot of times, there’s a he said / she said aspect to these scenarios that make it very difficult to sort them out. Situations involving a claims of violence are hectic, but being well informed can help to make a terrible situation easier. If you face an accusation, it is important that you familiarize yourself with what happens next.

What Happens When Domestic Violence is Reported

Domestic violence generally refers to the following between people with a familial or personal relationship:

    • Physical assault
    • Sexual assault
    • Harassment
    • False imprisonment
    • Trespassing

When a police report has been filed for a domestic violence dispute, they must investigate. Officers will usually remove someone from the property where the investigation takes place.    

Related: What Are My Legal Rights When Accused of Nonviolent Abuse?

Mandatory Arrest?

In the United States, law varies from state to state; however, the majority of states have adopted pro arrest policies, namely a mandatory arrest for domestic violence. Mandatory arrest laws usually compel officers to make an arrest whenever they have probable cause to believe a crime occurred. In Nevada, state law mandates that police officers make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe the person to be arrested has committed domestic battery within the past 24 hours.  

know your legal rights

Can Domestic Violence Victims Drop Charges?

No. Victims are usually a crucial part of the prosecution. However, victims are never considered a formal party in criminal proceedings. When the state files a charge of domestic violence, it views the defendant as though he/she potentially committed a crime against the state. The state prosecutes the accused, and it is the prosecuting attorney’s role to determine whether or not to proceed with charges. The state views defendants as potential criminals that, if guilty, should be held responsible for their crimes irrespective of the wishes of the victim(s).    

What If the Victim Refuses to Testify?

If a victim refuses to testify against the defendant in court, the prosecutor may still proceed with the criminal trial. Depending on evidence other than testimony available to the prosecuting attorney, the state will determine whether or not to move forward with the trial. If compelling evidence other than victim testimony pointing to the guilt of the person on trial exists, the court may view a victim refusing to testify as an act of manipulative abuse by the defendant.   

What to Do If You’re Arrested for Domestic Violence

If arrested, it is essential that you take the arrest seriously from moment one. Call a lawyer.

Frequently, those arrested for domestic violence view the charge as overblown and think of what occurred as a simple dispute that won’t draw criminal charges. They may also assume the alleged victim will drop charges or refuse to testify. The law does not view a domestic violence allegation that way, and neither should you. Make sure to contact an attorney with experience working on cases like yours immediately upon arrest.

How to Prove Probable Cause Domestic Violence

Probable cause is a burden of proof measure used by police officers when determining whether to arrest during a domestic violence dispute. Probable cause is considered a low burden of proof standard and merely requires that an officer believe that a suspect has or will commit a crime. Mere verbal testimony may constitute probable cause for an officer in the right context. The following may indicate probably cause to an officer as evidence of domestic abuse:

    • Threatening or harassing text messages/voice messages
    • Bruises or scratches to the skin
    • Proof of trespassing

Related: Who Has the Burden of Proof in a Criminal Case?

If you face a domestic violence accusation, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with what lies before you. There are several common misconceptions about domestic violence. Know your state laws regarding mandatory arrest, understand what constitutes domestic violence, and recognize the victim’s role in your case. Armed with the information above, you can defend your rights and work towards making the best out of what is understandably an unpleasant circumstance.