DC Domestic Violence Investigation

In DC domestic violence investigations, police officers are required by the law to make an arrest in the event that they believe there is probable cause to conclude that a crime was committed. This is not the case for any other type of offense. If there is an alleged assault committed by two random strangers at a bar even though an accuser may say the other guy punched them in the face, it is at the discretion of the police whether they want to make an arrest or do not want to make an arrest. In domestic allegations, the police do not have that discretion.

Law enforcement in a DC domestic violence investigation is required to make an arrest on a finding of probable cause and probable cause for the police is a low standard. It does not take much information at all for the police to simply make an arrest after an accusation of a domestic violence offense has been made. If you believe you are under investigation for a similar accusation, a distinguished domestic violence lawyer can help you search for beneficial evidence for your case.

Determination of the Primary Aggressor

Whenever a person is accused of committing some kind of criminal domestic offense, the first people to conduct an investigation are usually going to be the police. If a defendant is accused of committing an assault against a significant other and the significant other contacts the police, the police will often be on the scene within a few minutes.

After an accusation, law enforcement in a DC domestic violence investigation will arrive on the scene and interview the complainant. Police on some occasions may not even ask a suspect any questions at all although. Ideally, defense attorneys like to think that police officers will conduct very thorough investigations when they report to the scene of a crime. In many situations, that simply does not happen. In many situations, police officers will conduct a single limited interview with an accuser and make an arrest based on scant information without a whole lot of supporting evidence.

Unique Aspects of a Domestic Violence Investigation

The involvement of law enforcement in a DC domestic violence investigation may begin with an accusation by one person and the police may make an arrest. When a defense attorney conducts their own investigation in domestic violence cases, they should try to conduct thorough research on the background between the client and the accuser, whether that is a romantic background or a family background or sometimes a living situation background where the client may be roommates with the accuser.

Understanding that background is important to understanding the relationship between the people involved and that can help the attorney understand any biases that an accuser may have, any motivations to lie, and it can help them understand and attack the reliability of the allegations made by an accuser which can help put the client in a stronger position. Understanding the background is important in a domestic violence case.

Assessing the Strength of an Accusation

It is important for a defense lawyer to scrutinize a police officer’s investigation and determine whether there is any information that an officer misses. There may be witnesses they have not interviewed, physical evidence or other types of evidence that the police officer may have overlooked. In an assault case the police may not conduct a very thorough investigation, they may only have a single complaining witness who says that the person was hit or threatened, or otherwise a victim of a crime.

A thin allegation may be enough for the police to have probable cause to make an arrest. That does not necessarily mean that that evidence is enough to actually secure a conviction at trial. Defense lawyers should scrutinize the police and the investigation to determine whether there are any challenges to that investigation and challenges to the information that they obtained when conducting their investigation.