California police officers must follow certain protocol at a domestic violence call response. Domestic violence is a concerning problem in California. Californians make more than 150,000 domestic violence calls a year. Police officers respond to many of these. When responding to a domestic violence call, a police officer must make sure that the victim is left in safety. This often means that the officer will make an arrest. There are also a number of other things an officer may do to ensure the victim's safety.
An officer may do any of the following at a domestic violence call response:
- Contact a judge to have an ex-parte emergency protective order issued
- Enforce any standing protective orders
- Confiscate any firearms or other deadly weapons in plain sight or pursuant to a lawful search
- Arrest the suspected abuser
- Order the suspected abuser to leave the premises
- Assist the victim with obtaining emergency medical care, if necessary
- Arrange for any children to be put into temporary custody, if necessary
- Assist the victim with leaving the premises and may help with removing personal property
- Interview the defendant, victim, or any witnesses
Everyone involved in California domestic violence cases from the person who answers the crisis or complaint call to the district attorney must follow certain procedures. The guidelines an officer must follow help ensure no further harm can occur after they leave. An officer will typically err on the side of caution when responding to a domestic violence call. This usually means an arrest will be made if they have probable cause. Probable cause when responding to a domestic violence call may be the belief that an assault or battery has been committed. They may make an arrest if they believe one of these crimes will be committed if they leave. An officer may also make an arrest if you have violated a standing restraining order.
If the domestic violence incident was mutual, meaning both people harmed each other, the officer will still need to make an arrest but may only arrest the dominant aggressor. They will have to make this judgment call based on what they can observe on the scene, which sometimes isn't much. This can result in an unfair bias against the stronger of the two, typically the male. This can also occur if the allegations of domestic violence were false. Unfortunately, this puts too many innocent people behind bars every year. Make sure you consult with an attorney immediately if you have been arrested for false domestic violence allegations. A skilled attorney may be able to help you fight false allegations successfully.
If you are arrested for a domestic violence offense you may have the opportunity to post bail if the arresting officer does not believe the victim would be put in danger. This means you do not have to stay in jail until your arraignment. You may have an emergency protective order in place even if you are released from jail. You must follow this order. You could be arrested and put back in jail if you violate the order. You may not be given the opportunity to post bail if you violate a restraining order.
Domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted in California. There are dedicated prosecution units that focus just on domestic violence defendants. Even so, an arrest at a domestic violence call response does not automatically mean you will be convicted or even charged with a crime. That is why it is important you speak with an experienced California domestic violence defense attorney as soon as you can. A skilled attorney may be able to contact the district attorney before charges are even filed. An attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser charge or a minimum sentence for you if charges have already been filed. Domestic violence crimes are taken very seriously in California. Make sure you have a good attorney on your side when facing them.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested for a domestic violence offense in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area, call experienced domestic violence defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can assess your case and help you navigate the process from step one. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.