In Ohio, reports of domestic violence are taken seriously. So much so that a specific statute in the Revised Code requires law enforcement agencies to develop policies and procedures officers must follow when responding to a report of such an offense.
Thus, if you're accused of harming or attempting to harm a family or household member, you can expect swift action to be taken and to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
So what are the things officers must do when responding to a domestic violence call? They include, but are not limited to:
- Responding without "undue delay": Officers must report the scene immediately. The rationale for this is that if too much time passes between the initial report and the police response, the alleged victim could be exposed to further or more substantial harm.
- Separately interviewing those involved: Police will separate the alleged offender and the alleged victim to get statements from each. When they question the victim, they are looking to see if such violence or attempted violence against them is common and/or frequent. Additionally, they want to know if any previous reports have been made against the alleged offender and what the outcome was. In many cases, when officers question the alleged offender, they are not looking for them to defend their innocence. Rather, they are trying to determine if evidence exists that they committed the alleged offense. Any statement made can be used against the alleged abuser during the criminal. The police won't tell the alleged offender – and because because they haven't arrested the person, are not legally bound to tell them – that they have the right to remain silent.
- Arresting the offender: If the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the alleged offender committed the offense, they can make an arrest. If they do not arrest the alleged offender, they must provide in their report their reasons for not taking such action.
- Writing a report: The responding officer must write a report about the incident. It must include their observations, including injuries they noted on the alleged victims, weapons at the scene, and any other relevant information about the incident.
- Informing the victim of avenues to get additional protection: The officer will let the alleged victim know that they have the option of obtaining a temporary protection order or a domestic violence protection order. If the alleged victim decides to pursue such action and a judge grants their request, the alleged offender will face various restrictions and limitations. A violation of any of the conditions can lead to additional criminal charges and penalties on top of those for the underlying domestic violence offense.
Have you been accused of a domestic violence offense in Dayton? Contact L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC at (937) 685-7006 to get the aggressive defense you need to fight your charge.