Your neighbors probably mean well, even if they cause legal problems for you. Maybe you know them closely, so they worry about you when something sounds wrong at your house. Maybe you only ever see them to wave in passing as you roll out your trash canisters for weekly pick up, so they misunderstand and believe that what is really just a spirited argument is a sign of domestic violence.
If a neighbor calls the police when they hear shouting, screaming or items breaking in your home, the cops will knock on your door to assess the situation for signs of domestic violence. Very frequently, these visits result in someone from the household getting arrested.
How do Tennessee police officers handle domestic violence calls?
With most kinds of violent offenses, the person who got hurt is often eager to talk to the police. That is typically not the case in domestic violence scenarios. Instead, the victim may try to deny that there is anything wrong and get the police to leave.
Often, both parties may have played a role in the arguments or physical confrontation. Both of them may have broken items around the home. The police officers need to look for signs of bodily harm and either person and try to determine who was the primary aggressor. Someone who throws a punch to defend themselves during a strangulation attack would not face the same degree of responsibility for the situation as the person choking them.
If the police determine that domestic violence likely did occur and that one of the two people present was the primary aggressor, they will arrest that individual. They will also need to offer support to the victim, including transportation to a safe place, like a family member’s house.
The other person involved can’t necessarily prevent prosecution
The victims of a violent crime can sometimes ask prosecutors to drop the charges. Someone mugged by a stranger might meet with their attacker, sympathize with their financial situation and forgive them, for example.
You likely won’t have that option in a domestic violence case. Victims involved in the prosecution of domestic violence offenses frequently recant their prior statements, which can complicate prosecution. As a result, many Tennessee prosecutors will only bring domestic violence charges when the evidence of an injury or statements by police officers and other witnesses are enough to secure a conviction without the cooperation of the victim.
It can be a significant challenge to defend against domestic violence charges, but that does not mean it is impossible. Understanding the rules that apply to such police calls and prosecution in Tennessee can help you plan an appropriate defense strategy when facing allegations of domestic violence.