A charge of domestic violence in California often begins when someone (called the complaining party) makes a phone call to a law enforcement agency (California police, Highway Patrol, or County Sheriff). Here’s what happens next…
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Call Police About Domestic Violence
Should you call police about domestic violence if you are attacked by a loved one or harmed by someone who is near to you, you should call police about domestic violence.
Contacting Law Enforcement
Law enforcement will visit the scene and complete a crime report which will be forwarded to the district attorney. You should ask the officers for a case number before they leave. You are entitled to receive a free copy of the report face sheet within 48 hours and the full report within five days.
Documenting the Incident
Call police about domestic violence to ensure you document the incident. When law enforcement responds, they must make an arrest when there is a visible injury to one party. In cases where both parties show signs of injury, the police must identify and arrest the primary aggressor; the one who is the most significant aggressor or who causes the greatest amount of harm, regardless of who started the fight.
Actions taken by Law Enforcement
Law enforcement is required to enter the property to remove all firearms. Remember, anything and officer sees or hears can result in additional charges.
Call police about domestic violence if the abuser violates the restraining order. Law enforcement must arrest a person who is in violation of a domestic violence restraining order, whether or not that violation occurred in the officer’s presence. Law enforcement is required to maintain a record of all restraining orders and to inform all officers responding to a domestic violence call when there are restraining orders in effect.
Officers must perform a complete investigation of the crime and include in their report any history of previous domestic violence reports, interviews with all witnesses, photos of injuries, calls made to 911, and any medical records.
Emergency Protective Orders
Should you be the complaining party you must be offered an Emergency Protective Order . This order can be immediately issued and is valid for one week. This will give you time to obtain a permanent restraining order. You need to file for a domestic violence restraining order as soon as possible.
California domestic violence criminal laws protect not only married couples and co-parents of a child but former spouses and cohabitants.
California Family Courts operate under the presumption that giving custody to a perpetrator of domestic violence is detrimental to the child.
Time off from Work
Your employer cannot discharge, discriminate, or retaliate against you should you takes time off work to protect yourself or others from acts of domestic violence.
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For more information about domestic violence, click on one of the following links:
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Mutual Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
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