A domestic dispute is an incredibly delicate situation. Emotions are probably running very high, and police intervention sometimes only makes the people involved more upset.
When the police are called to a domestic dispute in Philadelphia, you might be arrested for domestic violence-related crimes. The police have unique powers of arrest in domestic disputes and can arrest people without a warrant even if they did not witness the alleged abuse. A full investigation may be launched, and you and your family may be questioned. On top of that, the alleged victim can obtain a protection from abuse order (PFA). In that case, any weapons you have would be confiscated, and you would be barred from contacting the other person. You might face years behind bars if criminal charges are filed against you.
Call our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys immediately if you were involved in a domestic dispute and the police had to intervene against you. Call the team at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 and ask about a free case evaluation.
Being Arrested When the Philadelphia Police Are Called for a Domestic Dispute
When the police respond to a domestic dispute in Philadelphia, they often have a broader power of arrest. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 2711(a), a police officer responding to a domestic dispute may arrest a suspect without a warrant.
The officer must have probable cause to believe the suspect committed certain offenses, including involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, stalking, and strangulation against a family member. Under these circumstances, an arrest warrant is not required, nor does the officer have to have witnessed the offense.
In addition to broader arrest powers, the police are also authorized to seize any weapons they find. Ordinarily, when law enforcement agents seize someone’s personal property, they must have a warrant. In the event of a domestic dispute, the police can seize any weapons they believe were used in the alleged domestic altercation. No warrant is necessary. Getting your property back is possible but often difficult, and our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help you.
When the police respond to a domestic dispute, you can expect to be handcuffed, put in a police car, and taken to the police station for questioning. You may even spend a night or two in jail until formal charges are assessed.
Criminal Investigations by the Police After a Call for a Domestic Dispute in Philadelphia
After a call for a domestic dispute, the police might arrest you and take you into custody. As mentioned above, the arrest may happen relatively quickly as no warrant is necessary if there is probable cause supporting the domestic dispute. Even so, you have certain rights as a defendant that the police must respect.
First, you must be Mirandized before the police interrogate you. Being Mirandized is when the police read you your Miranda rights. You have likely heard these rights recited before on television or in movies. They include your right to remain silent and your right to have a lawyer with you.
You should invoke these rights as soon as possible. When the police read you these rights, you must firmly assert that you are invoking your right to remain silent and are demanding an attorney. Our Bucks County criminal defense lawyers can assist you when you are interrogated by law enforcement.
Not only will you be questioned, but the alleged victim will be questioned about the domestic dispute too. If other people were at the scene, like other family members, kids, or neighbors, they might also be interviewed by the police.
Protective Orders After the Philadelphia Police Respond to a Domestic Dispute
When the police intervene in a domestic dispute, they must advise alleged victims of their ability to file for a protection from abuse order (PFA). According to 23 Pa.C.S. § 6105(b), the police must inform alleged victims that they can petition for a PFA and take advantage of other services for domestic violence victims.
A PFA order may be requested ex parte, which means the alleged victim can make the request alone, and the PFA may be granted in your absence. This is often a temporary PFA, and a hearing is scheduled shortly after to determine whether a more permanent order is necessary. When the alleged victim files this petition, they may explain to the court what kind of protection they want. For example, they can ask that the order not only keep you away from them but from your children.
At the hearing for the PFA, you may be present and explain why the order is unnecessary or too restrictive. An attorney can help you challenge an unfair order or one that is too great a hindrance in your life. Our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers have experience dealing with PFAs and can help you protect your rights.
Protective orders like PFAs often require defendants to turn over all their weapons and firearms to law enforcement. This might feel like a major violation considering you have yet to have a trial, let alone be convicted of anything. An attorney can help you get your firearms and weapons returned.
Addressing Criminal Charges After Police Are Called to a Domestic Dispute in Philadelphia
After the police respond to a domestic dispute, you will likely be arrested, especially if the police find signs of injuries in the alleged victim. After questioning and investigation, you may be formally charged with crimes related to domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not one crime but a category of criminal offenses, and our Philadelphia domestic violence defense lawyers have experience handling these kinds of charges. Generally, domestic violence includes offenses committed between family members or romantic partners. Any crime committed against someone you live with or is a family member or romantic partner may be considered domestic violence.
The nature of your charges depends on what happened during the alleged domestic dispute. Many domestic disputes involve physical violence. Others, like stalking, do not. You may be charged with anything from misdemeanors up to serious felonies. Whatever you are charged with, you should contact an attorney immediately.
Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help
If you were involved in a domestic dispute and arrested by the police, call our Montgomery County criminal defense lawyers for help right away. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 and ask about a free case review.