A couple was recently placed in jail after getting into a physical altercation at their apartment building. Law enforcement was notified about the incident after neighbors noticed an argument between a man and woman. The man told law enforcement that the woman had bitten him and revealed bite marks. The woman, however, refused to speak with law enforcement. Eventually, both parties grew uncooperative with law enforcement. The man was placed in the back of a police vehicle and arrested under the charge of criminal mischief. The woman, who was determined to have five traffic-related warrants, was arrested and charged with causing bodily injury.
This situation highlights some of the errors that individuals should avoid making when police respond to a domestic violence case. It is a wise idea for all individuals to understand how to respond to these cases to avoid making a bad situation even worse.
Be Aware of Interactions with Law Enforcement
One of the most important elements of a domestic violence case is the type of interaction with law enforcement that is involved. These interactions can include arrests, investigative detentions, and voluntary encounters. A person can be searched or even arrested by the police during a domestic violence altercation. To satisfy requirements for an arrest, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed. Investigative detentions are short in nature and allow a person to be searched. These searches require law enforcement to demonstrate that reasonable suspicion exists. A person who is involved in a voluntary encounter can end the interaction at any time and cannot be searched.
Individuals are able to ask law enforcement the nature of the interaction to determine what type of rights exist. Law enforcement must tell a person if he or she is free to leave. If a person is not allowed to leave the interaction, it is then wise to ask if the person is under arrest or subject to an investigatory detention.
Assert Your Rights when Interacting with Law Enforcement
Because law enforcement is known to use various methods to obtain incriminating evidence from individuals, individuals should avoid doing anything that will further complicate the matter. As a result, individuals should remember to respond confidently to law enforcement. Individuals should avoid consenting to any searches that law enforcement would like to perform which could increase the amount of incriminating evidence. Individuals should remember to avoid saying too much to law enforcement because statements can potentially be used later against an individual in a court of law.
Contact a Knowledgeable Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer
The laws regarding domestic violence are particularly complicated and frequently involve a number of unique circumstances, which is why it is often a good idea for individuals who have been in domestic violence situations involving law enforcement to quickly obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney. The seasoned legal counsel at Wheeler Law Office can help you navigate the various obstacles that can arise while defending against domestic violence charges.
(image courtesy of Eric Parks)