Page 12 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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What if I don't want my partner
In most circumstances, if a police
officer finds enough facts to indicate
that a family violence crime has
probably occurred, he or she must
arrest your partner, even if you
don't want him arrested. The police
will not arrest if there is no obvious
evidence of a crime.
If a person is arrested, will he go
to jail?
There are two different times when a
person who is arrested might go to
jail. First, at the time a person is
arrested, he might be held in jail
until he meets the bond or agrees to
the conditions of release set by the
police, bail commissioner or judge.
Second, a person who is found
guilty of a crime might be sentenced
to jail by the judge. Most people
convicted of crimes, however, are
not put in jail. Whether a jail
sentence is ordered will depend on
many things, including what the
prosecutor and the judge think
about the case.
Will the police arrest me? If they
do, what should I do?
If, during the incident, you hit,
assaulted, or threatened your
partner in any way, you may also be
arrested. If the police believe you
were partly responsible for creating
a loud public scene, they might
arrest you for creating a public
disturbance even if you were not
If you used force against your
partner in self-defense, the police
may decide not to arrest you, or
they may arrest you and suggest
that you explain that your actions
were in self-defense when you get to
If you are arrested, it is often best to
hire an attorney, or to get a friend or
family member to hire an attorney
for you. In deciding whether to hire
an attorney, you should think about
the cost of the attorney, the
seriousness of the charge, and the
implications of a possible criminal
record. (You should not have the
same attorney as your partner.) If
the judge thinks you are too poor to
pay for an attorney, he or she will let
you apply for a free attorney called a
public defender. Although many
people represent themselves in court
without an attorney, you will
probably do better in court if you
have an attorney.
What else should the police do?
The police must determine whether
you need medical assistance and
then help you get it if necessary.
They should tell you about services
available, including the nearest
domestic violence agency and the
Family Violence Victim Advocate.
They should also explain to you, if
your partner is arrested, that he will
be in court the next business day,
and that you can request a
protective order.
Whether or not an arrest is made,
the police may not leave the scene
until it is clear that there will not be