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Domestic Violence

State law requires law enforcement to make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe an act of Domestic Violence (usually an assault) has occurred within the last 4 hours. If law enforcement contacts you and they have reasonable grounds to believe you committed an act of Domestic Violence (even if you acted in self defense or if their information is incorrect) you will be arrested.

If you are about to be accused or are being accused of an act of Domestic Violence, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent. A law enforcement officer may try to act as if they are trying to help you. They may tell you that you should talk to them and tell them your side of the story. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS. You are going to be arrested! It is usually better to wait and tell your side to an attorney and let them decide how to best get your story out. Our Attorneys are available right now. Call us for advice on how to react to law enforcement.

The Domestic part of domestic violence (DV) means that the crime is committed by one “family or household member” against another family or household member. A family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common, adults related by blood or marriage, adults who are or have lived together, persons who have or are dating[1] and persons having a parent-child relationship (includes step parents, step grandchildren, grandparents and grandchildren). A DV label can be put on almost any crime but the most common are Assault (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree), Reckless Endangerment, Coercion, Burglary (1st and 2nd degree, and Residential), Trespass (1st and 2nd degree), Malicious Mischief (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree), Kidnapping (1st and 2nd degree), Unlawful Imprisonment, Rape (1st and 2nd degree), Stalking, and Interference with Reporting DV. But any crime commited against a family or household member can be labeled "DV", it does not need to be an act of violence.

If you are convicted of the crime of Domestic Violence, your right to possess a firearm will be lost. Additionally, you will not be able to “expunge” this conviction from your record. The concept of returning your right to possess firearms is discussed but not currently soemthing that can actually happen.

A person arrested for a DV crime will be booked and they cannot be bailed out until they go before a Judge. This means that a person arrested on Friday, Saturday or Sunday will likely not be able to get out of jail until Monday; after going to Court and addressing a Judge. In all likelihood a no contact order will be issued prohibiting the accused from contacting the alleged victim(s). Any attempt to contact or actual contact will be a new criminal act if the Court has served the person with a copy of the No Contact Order.

Usually, a person arrested for their first misdemeanor (non-felony) act of Domestic Violence will be released on their personal recognizance (PR’d) but; keep in mind, that the court always has the option of setting bail if it feels the accused is a risk of flight, a risk to commit a violent offense or likely to obstruct justice (for example by trying to intimidate a witness).

[1] Dating relationship is a bit of a gray area, but basically means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Court will factor in the length of the relationship, nature of relationship and the frequency of interactions.