The group that convinced NBC to run a public-service announcement during Super Bowl XXVII against domestic violence unfortunately had no statistical backing, but based purely on anecdotes. Still the myth persists. Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, wrote on the group’s website: “Domestic, sexual and dating violence are serious problems every day, and are not tied to the Super Bowl.”

Calling the Police

We have heard it many times, “if you do not stop, I will call the police.” What many of us do not understand is the consequence of calling the police. I have a client now who has never been in trouble with the law until his daughter called the police and indicated to the responding officers that “she is afraid of her father and that he had a knife.” The facts are far from the truth.

But as a result of this statement, her father is being criminally prosecuted for the charge of ‘criminal threats’ which could be filed as a felony or misdemeanor. Because of the charge itself, many prosecuting agencies, will not dismiss this charge even with a recanting victim.

When the police are called to investigate a crime, especially incidences defined in the category of family violence (domestic violence, criminal threats, assault), it is likely that someone will be arrested. Even if the individual who first called the police changes his or her mind and tells the officers that the call should not have been placed, it will not matter.

For example, in a domestic violence case, the partner who made the call cannot tell the police that he/she does not wish to “press charges” or “drop the charges” because nothing happened or he/she stopped as soon as the police arrived. Once the police arrive, they will ask questions to uncover the chain of events that led to the call for their help. They will question each partner (and all witnesses who were present or observed anything), individually and out of the presence of the others to insure each party feels comfortable to tell the truth. The officers will generally ask the same questions in order to expose any lies or discrepancies in the individual accounts.

In addition to questioning the parties at the scene, the police will conduct a visual sweep of the scene for evidence. Since the area is a crime scene, a search warrant will generally not be mandatory. As such, a search of the location will be completed without the prerequisite authorization from the residents. All firearms will be removed from the home and a restraining order may be executed without a court order and issued at the scene.

If you are the accused, it is impossible to talk yourself out of trouble and being arrested. The best advice is to politely deny making any statements and indicate that you want an attorney present before answering any questions. As I have indicated in many of previous articles, you do not have the experience and the expertise to get yourself out of trouble. The police, on the other hand, are well-qualified to ask the questions relevant to insure arrest and prosecution.

As I noted above regarding my client, that first call that his daughter made have placed her father in clear jeopardy of having a criminal conviction. It is not a simple matter when individuals result to calling the police because they are temporarily “mad” at someone—the situation must rise to an emergency situation that is real and life threatening.

CategoryCriminal Law