Stage One: The Arrest and Bail
Process of a Domestic Violence Case
When law enforcement is called to an incident of domestic violence, someone will be arrested. It is politically mandated by state lawmakers and enforced at the local level by law enforcement officers. The primary goal of an officer is to determine who the dominant aggressor is and arrest them. Even when the victim does not desire prosecution, or if there are no injuries, someone will be arrested.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the alleged conduct. Law enforcement typically arrests and books on felony charges of domestic battery, criminal threats, false imprisonment, child endangerment, or vandalism. Booking on a felony elevates the bail to an amount that will theoretically delay the defendant’s release, thus prolonging the separation time between the defendant and the victim. This does not mean the case cannot be charged as a misdemeanor when it goes to court.
If one does not bail out, the first court date will be held within a few days of the arrest. If one does bail out, the arraignment will be pushed out approximately one to two weeks. At the arraignment, your attorney may argue to have the bail reduced. This may be a very attractive situation for those not wiling to pay on the initial bail amount. However it may not be the best option for the case depending on the facts known at the time of the arrest.
As a general rule, only the case will certainly be filed as a felony, should one not bail out prior the arraignment. For example, if there are serious injuries inflicted with independent witnesses who saw the violence, and/or an admission from the accused, the case will more than likely be filed as a felony. There may be little an attorney can do to mitigate the charges prior to the court date in this situation. Efforts may be better spent preparing a quality bail review package to negotiate a reduced bail with the prosecutor prior to the arraignment.
If it is a borderline case of a felony or misdemeanor, bail out as soon as possible. This will extend the first court date out to allow more time for our team of investigators to assist in preventing charges from being filed, or have the charges reduced to a misdemeanor prior to going to court.