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Going to Jail for a Domestic Violence Disturbance

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Ever since a domestic abuse case in the 1980s that ended in tragedy, the police always arrest someone if they arrive at a domestic violence disturbance. This unwritten policy is intended to protect the police, not the public. Even if nobody is convicted of a crime at the end of it all, this ensures that no further disturbances can occur later that night. That means the police cannot be sued or even criticized because they failed to separate the parties and later, one of them injured or killed the other. If they ALWAYS put somebody in jail, then they have “done their job” and it matters not to them whether the case is later dropped.

If you or someone you know is involved in a domestic violence case, contact an attorney at The Defense Group online or call us at 407 743 8430 or 407-250-9557 to arrange a FREE CONSULTATION. We are available 24 hours a day in case of emergency, and if necessary, we are easily able to make nighttime and weekend appointments.

“There’s an unwritten rule with law enforcement these days. If they go to a domestic violence disturbance, somebody’s going to jail. They may or not get convicted, but they’re going to put you in jail that night because that way they ensure that nothing bad is going to happen later that night. That really arose out of a case many years ago back in the 80s, when the Chairman of the Orange County Commission was involved in a physical confrontation with his wife. The Sheriff’s Department was called to his house for a domestic violence disturbance. When they arrived, there was adequate evidence of violence, but this was the guy who signed the budget for the entire Sheriff’s Department.

They didn’t arrest anybody. They suggested he take a bag and leave for the night. He did. Well, he didn’t leave for the entire night. He left, went across town, borrowed a gun, came back, and killed his wife. The Sheriff’s Department got sued. They put her in the ground. They put him in prison, and a bunch of lawsuits came out of it. The Sheriff’s Department paid out lots of money. They don’t plan on doing that again!

Since then, in a kind of a CYA sort of approach to things, law enforcement officers will always put someone in jail, knowing that at least nothing else is going to happen that night. This is not just the one agency involved. This policy appears to be state-wide and universal. Officers will even intimidate alleged “victims” to say certain things in their statements to justify the arrest. We have seen mothers threatened with the removal of their children from their home unless they “cooperated” in the prosecution of the father.

Once the arrest has been made, the prosecutors take the baton if you will. Just as the police want to be protected from the claim that something bad happened because they did not do their job (arresting somebody), the State Attorney is an elected official as well. The State Attorney has sent “marching orders” to his team of prosecuting attorneys not to easily dismiss these cases. They prosecute a little bit more heavily or strongly than they would other cases, for fear that if something happens later, they’ll be accused of not properly prosecuting the guy. Special prosecutors are assigned to handle these domestic violence cases at both the misdemeanor and felony level. The fear is that if they drop the charges and the alleged abuser later commits another crime of violence, that ahis would have been prevented if only the prosecutors had done their jobs aggressively.

Then the public relations issue is passed on to the judge. Once you’re convicted of domestic violence, you’ll typically get sentenced a little bit more harshly than perhaps on other crimes. The concern is that if the defendant does something later, that’s terrible and hits the newspapers, the talk radio show folks won’t come back and blame the judge, claiming that if only that judge had been more harsh in his sentence, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. So, it’s a kind of a complicated practice that you wouldn’t think it is, but it requires a lot of time and effort.”

So, YES, you can go to jail for a domestic violence offense. You can go to jail even if there is no injury. You can be restrained from going home to your own home. Youi can lose your job. You can lose your civil rights. You can be disadvantaged in any later custody dispute. You can be deported if you are not a citizen. The total consequences can be terrible.

If you or a loved one are arrested for a domestic battery or related offense, you should IMMEDIATELY CALL an experienced criminal defense attorney with The Defense Group at 407 743 8430 or 407-250-9557, to make an appointment for your FREE CONSULTATION.


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