In this 3 part series, I describe different scenarios and possible outcomes for domestic violence cases in Macomb and Oakland County. When our attorneys get a call for a domestic violence case, we know that the incident involves a relationship or marriage. Domestic violence cases also arise when an assault occurs between siblings or between parents and children. There is strong public policy associated with domestic violence cases in Michigan which places a great deal of pressure upon law enforcement and the courts. When someone is charged with domestic violence, the government takes over the case, the court can enter a no-contact order and there are numerous obstacles to getting the charge dismissed even with the victim’s consent. The penalties and stigma associated with a domestic conviction are huge.
Most domestic violence investigations or charges are initiated when a spouse or girlfriend calls 9-1-1 and reports that they were physically assaulted. A case can also be initiated when the person who was allegedly assaulted contacts the police within a few days after the incident. The police will take a statement and photographs if there are any visible bruises or injuries. The police may arrest the suspected party based upon the statement of the alleged victim or contact the suspect to for an interview. In most cases, the police will press charges even if the suspect denies the incident or claims self-defense.
A person suspected of domestic violence should refrain from making a statement to the police. First of all, the person making the statement is probably in an angry and emotional state of mind. This rarely lends itself to a rational statement. Second of all, the suspected party may admit to incriminating conduct such as intoxication or an argument which can be used against the suspect at trial. There is also the risk that the police will write a report which misinterprets or is contrary from the suspect’s statement. Lastly, most of our clients charged with domestic violence are first time offenders who have never been charged with a crime and do not comprehend law enforcement interrogation tactics. For these reasons and more, our law firm routinely advises our clients to exercise their 5th Amendment right to remain silent, hire a lawyer and have the lawyer contact the law enforcement agency.