In California, a charge of domestic violence often begins when someone (called the complaining party) makes a phone call to a law enforcement agency (California law enforcement, Sheriff or California Highway Patrol. Here’s what happens next….
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Domestic Violence Reports
Domestic violence reports include any and all reports made to law enforcement, medical personnel, and to witnesses. Remember to document any act of domestic violence which can be used in a court proceeding.
One of the most useful domestic violence reports are reports made by law enforcement. Police officers 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.
Law enforcement 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. Be sure to request a copy of this domestic violence report which can be used to obtain a protective order.
Law enforcement is required to enter the property to remove all firearms. Remember, anything and officer sees or hears can result in additional charges.
Violations of Restraining Orders
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 domestic violence reports 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 domestic violence reports any history of previous domestic violence reports, interviews with all witnesses, photos of injuries, calls made to 911, and any medical records.
The complaining party must be offered an Emergency Protective Order which can be immediately issued and which is valid for one week. This gives the complaining party time to obtain a permanent restraining order.
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.
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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