Georgia police officers responding to calls about disturbances or requests for assistance often have a very difficult job. They have to interact with people who may be uncooperative or possibly under the influence of alcohol to determine what has actually occurred.
When someone fears for their safety because a conversation has turned ugly or when neighbors overhear something for which they have no context, police officers may receive a call asking for help in a domestic violence situation. Domestic violence calls are among the most common reasons that people call for support from law enforcement professionals, and they can be some of the most difficult situations for officers to analyze and address.
How do Georgia police officers determine what should happen when they respond to a domestic violence call?
Officers will often make an arrest
Occasionally, neighbors or passers-by could misunderstand a situation in which nothing dangerous or criminal occurred. Perhaps a married couple has a tendency to use very loud voices when arguing but would never cross the line into physical violence. Perhaps what seemed like an argument was actually a movie playing loud in the background.
When officers can establish that no interpersonal violence occurred, they may leave without taking any further steps. However, when they witness the altercation still in progress or when there are signs of violence, they may then need to ask questions, and those questions might lead to them arresting one of the people involved in the incident.
What happens after a domestic violence arrest?
Typically, prosecutors will only pursue domestic violence charges when they feel confident that they could secure a conviction. In domestic violence cases, typically that means having enough evidence to convince the courts without the statement of the alleged victim. It is quite common for parties involved in domestic violence situations to change or recant their statements.
There will usually need to be evidence of physical damage to a property or provable injuries to one of the parties involved for the state to move forward with criminal charges. If the state does bring charges against someone for a domestic violence offense, a conviction could have numerous consequences. Not only are there possible criminal penalties, but there could be family consequences as well.
Those who understand how police officers and the state handle domestic violence cases may be in a better position to plan a way to defend against those charges.