Prince William County Domestic Violence Arrests

A Prince William County domestic violence could have significant consequences on a person’s life. Understanding how authorities may conduct a domestic violence arrest could protect you from implicating yourself. Reach out to a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about your legal options.

Circumstances Under Which Law Enforcement Officers Required to Make an Arrest

Prince William County law enforcement officers typically make an arrest if they believe they have probable cause that a crime has been committed. Probable cause refers to a fair probability under the circumstances observed by the officer, based on their training and experience, that an offense occurred. Officers typically have the discretion whether to charge someone and whether to arrest them. With many domestic violence charges, Virginia has a specific law requiring officers to make arrests for domestic violence in Prince William County for any person they have probable cause to believe has committed a domestic violence offense.

How a Domestic Violence Arrest Differs from other Arrests

Domestic violence arrests in Prince William County are more likely to occur than a normal arrest and could be more likely to result in a 72-hour emergency protective order being put in place by a magistrate judge immediately following the arrest. During this time period, an accused may need to find temporary alternative housing and transportation which does not involve the accuser.

What a Person Could Expect During an Arrest

An arrested individual could be subject to paying post money for a bond, could have an emergency protective order placed on them in relation to the accuser, and may also have extensions of the initial protective order which could be requested by the accuser. Protective order hearings are separate hearings from the actual case, and the accuser’s stances at these hearings in terms of increasing the protective orders or letting them go could be important for gauging the ultimate position the accuser will take in relation to the underlying criminal charge.

Instances of False Accusations

While false accusations are not uncommon in domestic violence cases, exaggerated accusations are very typical in Prince William County.

Why Might a Person Falsely Accuse Another?

There may be a number of reasons a person may falsely accuse another of domestic violence. There may be inherent emotional volatility with being a family or household member of the accused. An accuser could attempt to use a charge as leverage over an accused out of jealousy or spite. The false charge may be a more calculated attempt to disrupt an accused’s living situation, marital status, or custody rights. Other instances could involve people close to the accused who suffer from mental illness and perceive that they have been wronged in a way that warrants the legal system’s attention.

Reach out to an Attorney During Prince William County Domestic Violence Arrests

A person is recommended to refrain from speaking to the police before their lawyer arrives. When police are taking statements, they could ask invasive, unclear, and suggestive questions that blur the line between when someone is allowed to answer versus required to answer. The quantity and quality of their questions could become excessive. They may be trained to cause people to potentially incriminate themselves in ways that could later be used as evidence against them. While the police may be allowed to lie to civilians during an investigation, it constitutes a separate crime if a civilian lies to the police. It could be much safer to wait until a lawyer is present for questioning during Prince William County domestic violence arrests and not undergo questioning on one’s own.