When You Shouldn’t Call The Police
Unfortunately there are times when things in a civilized society become uncivilized. When it happens within your own home, and the parties involved are all related, it makes the situation even more disturbing and difficult to handle. These situations are usually classified as domestic disputes and have the potential to quickly escalate out of control. However, despite the natural inclination to call the police right away, it should not be the first choice in these scenarios.
For individuals who find themselves in heated arguments or situations involving high emotions, there are several alternatives to involving the police that should be explored first. Usually this involves creating physical space between the disputing parties, such as moving into different rooms or one individual walking outside away from the property. Another option is to involve an outside non-law enforcement party, such as a relative, friend or trusted neighbor to assist in mediating the situation.
Typically after 10 minutes most domestic dispute situations have cooled down to the point where there is no need for police intervention. After the dust has settled, it is strongly recommended that all involved parties seek professional counseling in order to avoid these situations in the future.
Involving Law Enforcement
All that being said, in situations where there is actual domestic violence, physical assault or even serious threats made, the safest thing to do is to physically leave the area and ensure that you are in a position of safety. When things have progressed to this point, it is highly unlikely that the assaulting individual can be reasoned with or their mind changed. After finding a secure place where you are no longer in danger, then you should assess whether that individual may be a risk for harm to themselves or others. If they are deemed a risk, then calling the police may be the best option.
If the police are called, at least one person is going to be arrested. This can even be individuals who weren’t the initial aggressors, such as a person who physically restrained another individual, or even just grabbed their wrists or pushed them away. The police will almost always err on the side of caution and arrest anyone who was involved in a physical altercation, regardless of whether they were the victim or the aggressor.
What Happens After The Police
If an individual has been arrested for assault or domestic violence, it is imperative that they contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Once the police and criminal justice system are involved, the decision to not pursue criminal charges after the fact is no longer in the hands of the victim or individuals involved. The prosecutors office can and will pursue charges regardless of whether the victim decides they do not want to press charges.
Because these disputes are usually between family members, many times having charges pressed against the other party can result in considerable financial hardship for the family. Our office often hears stories from individuals who regret calling the police, as they realized that the dispute could have been resolved on their own without involving the criminal justice system and requiring a criminal law team to defend their family member.