Law enforcement takes domestic violence allegations extremely. As a result, during Prince William County domestic violence investigations, law enforcement takes as many measures as possible to find the assailant and convict them for the injuries they have been accused of causing.
If you have been identified as the primary aggressor in a domestic violence case, you should hire a diligent lawyer to work with you on your case. A tenacious attorney could help to explain your rights, discuss your legal options, and guide you through the ensuing process.
Once someone calls the police to report a domestic violence offense, the police promptly respond to the scene and typically issue at least one charge to someone involved—even if the alleged assailant has appeared to have calmed down. This standard is in large part due to a particular state law that directs officers to make an arrest in domestic disputes, which takes away their discretion to forgo arrests like they sometimes do in other criminal investigations.
While on the scene, the police take photographs of any visible injuries they observe and ask each involved party for a statement of what happened. If someone does not speak English, the police may attempt to bring an officer to the scene who can translate, or put someone on the phone who can translate. The police might also record their own observations, which may or may not lead to the creation of a formal police incident report. The police may also request a magistrate judge to issue an emergency protective order between the accused and the alleged victim, even though the police may not formally arrest the accused or bring them before the magistrate to set a bond pending trial.
If there is further information that is unclear at the time the police respond, the investigation may continue. This information can include the exact relationship or identifying information of the parties, the immigration status of the parties, accounts of what happened from witnesses that are not available on scene, and medical records that are generated from future treatment for injuries stemming from the case.
There is no set formula for how an officer chooses who to charge as the primary aggressor. The officer may consider factors such as the nature of any visible injuries on either party, the comparative size and gender of those involved, the recollections of the parties or witnesses, and the behavior and demeanor of each party.
Law enforcement might also take into account which party chose to call the police, each party’s criminal history, and whether any third parties claim to have observed who the primary aggressor was. During a domestic violence investigation in Prince William County, an experienced defense attorney could review their client’s case to determine how these factors could impact their likelihood of being identified as the primary aggressor.
Many cases regarding domestic disputes tend to present more evidence that position men as the assailant, instead of women. These investigations also frequently result in judges presumptively issuing court orders throughout the pendency of the case which forbids contact, despite the lack of an official guilty plea from one of the parties.
Domestic violence investigations are also treated more seriously than many other types of investigations in Prince William County, since the police may fear that there is a greater potential for more offenses to be committed in the immediate future. Furthermore, other investigations may result in no charges actually being issued, more so than those regarding domestic violence.
The primary reason people charged with domestic violence often feel like they are being treated as though they were already convicted is because of protective orders. Protective orders are usually issued before the trial takes place and are based on a determination that the court thinks the accused committed the offenses and could commit other domestic violence offenses while the case is pending.
Not only are these determinations premature, but they also have drastic consequences for the accused. These consequences could include being forced to reside outside of their normal household or ignore interaction with people who are usually important parts of their daily life.
The common reaction to these conditions is that courts should not order such serious consequences upon someone, unless they have pleaded guilty. However, courts and law enforcement tend to adopt an overbroad concern for the future safety of the alleged victim, because of there is the potential for additional harm to occur, which they believe can then be prevented by a court order.
Every step of an investigation is one where the case could become worse for the accused, so it is important to be represented by a well-versed defense attorney throughout the entire case. Attorneys actively look for opportunities to influence the evidence, arguments, and positions taken by the prosecution before trial in a way that will benefit the accused down the road.
Being accused of domestic violence can lead to serious consequences that impact you for the rest of your life. If you are facing these charges, speak with a skilled defense lawyer to learn more about Prince William County domestic violence investigations. An attorney could work to use the information obtained to build your defense. Contact our office for a consultation.
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