Virginia Domestic Violence Investigations
The most common aspect of any domestic violence investigation is the police are going to want to talk to the person who is being accused of the crime before that person is placed under arrest. They want to do this in a way that appears as casual as possible so that the person is free to leave and therefore is not required to be advised of his rights under Miranda. The most important for police is to try to talk to those defendants before they become actual defendants.
The next thing that they will look at is any other evidence that might corroborate what the accusing witness has told them. These can be photographs, or videos, or perhaps telephone records or e-mails. Anything at all that substantiates what the complaining witness is telling them is going to be investigated by the police.
Determining the Primary Aggressor
When police are dispatched to a domestic dispute, they understand that their role, once arriving, is to determine who is the primary aggressor. They’ll very often talk to both parties involved and use their training and experience to make that determination.
In most cases, the identity of the primary aggressor is readily apparent. Usually, there might be testimony that’s consistent between the two people they’re interviewing as to who started what or who did what.
Unique Aspects of Domestic Violence Investigations
The primary thing that differentiates domestic violence investigations from other types of offenses is that, almost always, the police have no idea what happened before they walked in. They did not have witnesses. They have developed no information on their own prior to walking into that situation so, under those circumstances, they have to rely on their training and experience to determine what went on and how to make the correct charges.
In other criminal investigations, very often, the police will have witnessed something or have been tipped off and conducted their own investigation before they ever encounter a person they end up accusing but, in domestic violence cases, the police have no idea what happened before they walk in so they’re really coming in cold.
The primary rights that an individual has is the right to remain silent. Most people do not understand that they have a Fifth Amendment to remain silent simply by walking around in this country. People think that they do not have a right to remain silent until they are told that they have the right to remain silent under the Miranda warnings but this is simply not true.
The fact is that the police are only required to advise a person of their rights to remain silent under the Miranda laws. Once that person is in custody, and is being investigated, and being interrogated.
Contacting a Lawyer
The most important thing by far that an experienced lawyer can do for a person is to tell that person not to talk to the police without their lawyer being present. In a majority of cases the very best evidence that the government has comes straight out of my client’s mouth and this is even truer when it comes to domestic assault cases.
People are still frazzled, people are still amped up on adrenaline or whatever it is that was going on is still fresh in their minds and so they’re not thinking very clearly. And the police understand that and they want to talk to those people right away. And very often, these people will say things that will be used against them in a very negative way.
Having a Virginia domestic violence and battery attorney on someone’s side early in the process will help an individual sift through all of that emotion and make the correct decisions about how best to proceed when talking to the police.