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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    What can you do in DC if you are wrongfully accused of Domestic Violence?

    What if you get arrested and taken to jail, booked and with mandatory overnight stay????...can all that be expunged if it can be explained as a misunderstanding?

    Neither party said there was anything but a little argument. Why do these officers jump to conclusions??? How is this fair?

    I feel like I'm in a bad episode of COPS! Help.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested Of Domestic Violence

    Quote Quoting dcgal
    View Post
    What can you do in DC if you are wrongfully accused of Domestic Violence?What if you get arrested and taken to jail, booked and with mandatory overnight stay????
    The police had to have probable cause to make the initial arrest, so it really takes more than just one side's simple finger pointing (wrongful accusation). If someone had a red mark, there was stuff thrown around the house, or ANY POSSIBLE indication that you were doing anything other than staying in neutral corners to have a discussion, police are generally going to err on the side of caution (aside from laws mandating arrest, they don't want to be back LATER to start over with a homicide investigation).

    can all that be expunged if it can be explained as a misunderstanding?
    The arrest could possibly be sealed IF the case is dismissed and IF you can prove by "clear and convincing evidence" that the police had NO reason to make the arrest - so if the arrest report meets the court's standard for probable cause to make the arrest, this won't fly. DC only allows expungement for drug offenses and some child kidnapping cases (custody related).

    The DC Justice Center has a good guide to understanding sealing/expungement of criminal records, with sample letters, and step by step info at:

    Neither party said there was anything but a little argument. Why do these officers jump to conclusions???
    Little arguments don't require a police response. Someone INVITED those officers to the scene - whether it was a neighbor or witness who was in fear for one or both of you, or it was one of the partys involved in the argument, OR it was SO loud or obvious that they happened upon it while driving down the street minding their own business. They didn't just throw a dart at a map and magically arrive at your home. When police are called, they give a police response. In cases of domestic violence (even just SUSPECTED domestic violence), more often than not they are MANDATED to make an arrest. It's not a case of jumping to conclusions - it's an action that they are REQUIRED BY LAW to take. If someone called for police service and used any single word like "fear" or "afraid" or "hit" or "threw something" or any other indication that this was anything other than a quiet misunderstanding then the call goes out as a possible domestic violence call and the stage is set from there. There are other people to be called for counseling, therapy, or to referee a misunderstanding. Police are there to protect life and property, and to apprehend POSSIBLE offenders.

    What happened at your first appearance/arraignment?

    Were you given a specific statute number that you were charged under?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested Of Domestic Violence

    Thanks for your reply Aardvarc.

    Oy, it feels like a bad movie! Its all surreal. Now I can empathize with the wrongly accused. Now I can never sit on a jury again. A police man's perspective is not necessarily more accurate than that of a lay person.

    Its not me that was arrested and put in jail tonight its my boyfriend.

    Ok, some background info. Sometimes I get cyclical hormonally related severe depression (and I know I need to see a therapist agian, was trying do do holistic treatment with supplements and online support groups). I'm often a crabby depressed person, I just want to cry and be left alone. Anyhow today was one of those days and I was crying all day on and off since 9 am (so my eyes were extremely puffy and my nose pink with runny snot, sorry but true). My boyfriend came home to console me and I would have none of it so he left me alone as requested. He came to check in on me and I was crying again ... I cry when I journal as it is a release for my thoughts. (these are soft cries, that's how depressed people cry, you're just sad and tears stream down as you just feel blue). Anyhow, I went to the bathroom and realized he took my journal and was in the other room so I ran after him and he put it in his pants pocket (its tiny) and laid on his side on the bed so I couldn't get to it. I tried like a wildcat to grab it out but couldn't as he is twice my size and he wouldn't budge off of it. I told him he stole my property and if he didn't give it back I'd call the police. I dialed 911 but didn't push the talk button, instead I thought I pushed the clear button when he called my bluff and tossed the phone down. Anyhow apparently the call went through, the weirdest fluke of technology possible. Then the phone almost immediately made weird noises which we thought it meant it was off hook so he pushed the off button again. I guess it did go through! Shortly after the police come and want to talk to me alone. (by this time he gave me the journal back and he was consoling me and trying to help me get over this depressed episode and we were talking about finding a therapist tomorrow for me).....but the doorbell rings and its the police!! I thought oh I'm in trouble! The 911 call went through; will I get a ticket??!!! I never in a million years thought domestic violence!!!!!

    Of course my eyes are super crazy pink and puffy from crying all day. I told them what happened and apologized profusely for inappropriately dialing 911, I really didn't think I put it through, that it was a mistake. (Honestly, I'm not that irresponsible to call 911 for a stolen journal) I thought I was going to get a ticket for that or something. Instead he says, your left cheek looks swollen, did he hit you? I said no! Absolutely not. The go to talk to him and I guess he must have said nothing happened and then they arrest him on the spot!!!!! because his story didn't match. (Others must see the unrealness of this!!??) I said why would you arrest him. If anyone should be arrested it should be me. I'm the one who clawed at his pocket like a wildcat to get my journal back. This is the sort of fight I'd have with my brother and sisters growing up. Its a disagreement not DV! You don't arrest someone for that, the officer totally jumped to conclusions and wouldn't listen to me!

    I was so mad at the officer. He puts one and one together and gets 9 when its nothing more than one and one. I forgot about the puffy eyes so he must have thought it was swelling from a beating. A few coincidentaly flukey things were put together and all of a sudden I'm a victim of domestic violence???? Such BS!!!!! I mean I watch Oprah and Dr. Phil and I'm all for protecting the victims and erring on the side of caution but this is crazy!!!!! Really this was wrongful arrest. I'm no shrinking violet. And that he wouldn't take my word and just jump to his own conclusions, its not fair. This is totally agregious (sp?)!! This was sooo not domestic violence and if anyone should be taken in its me and not him and I told the officer that and he said he's never arrested a woman for domestic violence. I was like this is like a bad episode of COPS!

    So my poor hunny who was trying to console his crazy depressed girlfriend (me) is essentially wrongfully arrested for a crime that did not occur and now has a arrest on this record. Spent a night in jail with common criminals. This guy is a pure boyscout! A gentle soul. A florida manatee! A labradoodle! Never laid a pinky on me, ever. He probably did not say anything to the police to protect me and now he has an arrest record!!! This is sooo horrible!!This reminds me of the Candide (sp)? This is so crazy unfair! I can not sleep a wink. I will be at the police station bright and early this am to talk with the prosecuter. Any suggestions? Can this be dropped completely? Its such a crazy set of circumstances and misunderstandings.

    Sorry its so long. I am is such shock. So unfair for him! Where is the justice? Any suggestions as to what I can do? Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    There was no wrongful arrest. The police acted very appropriately. Please look through this forum at other DV cases to understand why they acted as they did.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    i have a similar situation with my boyfriend. He lived with his mother. His mother has filed for a stay away order of protection. My boyfriend has been wrongfully accused in the past and was too afraid to say anything so he agreed to a lesser plea of attending seafield substance abuse program and a one year stay away order last year. this order expired on 12/29/07. My boyfriend stayed with me this past year. on christmas, his mother took him back home. now, his mother filed another stay away order of protection a week ago. tomorrow is the court date. what do you think the chances are if he plans to fight this case?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    Our case got no papered, thank goodness. Now hopefully we can get the arrest record sealed.

    Its a surreal experience. Honestly now I don't think I could ever be a juror again. Or maybe I can be a juror with better insight now. I can't say that a polices man's judgement or perception of a situation is better than another persons. As a law abiding citizen I used to think when I've been in a jury box (twice) that the police man's word was golden and I took their word as gospel and the other peoples as hearsay but given this experience I am just baffled.

    I feel that there was not reasonable probable cause for an arrest for DV. I never said I was in fear. I told them the 911 call was a mistake and tried to explain to them it was never supposed have gone through (that it was a manipulative bluff on my part in addition to a technical button pushing snafoo) that its intent even if it did go through was not for help because I was in fear, that it was just to get my property back. I thought the only reason I was talking to them was because I was in trouble and they were going to give me a ticket or something for calling 911 unnecessarily. NEVER in a million years did I think that that they were even thinking DV, let alone thinking arrest for DV. I felt like I had no voice. I was floored when my hunny got arrested.

    Besides a mistakenly dialed 911 and a depressed woman who looked like a sad rag doll from crying throughout the day because she's unxplainably sad due to hormonal and serotonin imbalances, don't you need a little more somethin something before an arrest?

    If anyone should have been taken away it should have been me, maybe to a hospital as depression is a debilitating sad medical condition. Yes its chronic but there are also acute exacerbations. As they say, depression hurts... I'm not sure how I made it through that night... Being actively depressed that evening and having the only person who understands and helps me through my depression arrested for trying to help me through one of my painful episodes was too much for me. (that night was one of my worst episodes, he was going to call my family to decide how to help me as he couldn't handle me by himself anymore) (I thought how ironic is this. They thought I needed protection from him when the person I needed protection from was me and they left me alone with her and only her all night). When I tried to tell them about the depression they were like why are you telling us this now after we already decided to arrest him. I felt like well this is an embarrassing personal internal struggle that I didn't think was any of your business if I was getting a ticket for unnecessarily call 911 but if your jumping to the wrong conclusion please let me explain. But they said once they make the decision to arrest, really nothing I had to say mattered. Coming to this website really helped. It helped me see a light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like I found my voice. That all was not lost. I felt like I had a sense of purpose. That I could go to the prosecuter and tell her what really happened....that saved me to make it through the night.

    I think our men in the blue uniform need more training regarding mental health issues (PMDD, depression, mania, bipolar disorders). What to recognize, what questions to ask as people are embarrassed to talk about it. How to help. Who to help. Unfortunately mental health is still the skeleton in the closet and very hush hush in our society. Anyhow....The real victim in this case was my hunny in so many ways.

    If anyone has experience in getting an arrest record sealed, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    I find myself in your honeys situation. I'm so passed frustration right now... I cant begin to put it into words. This is your post and I'll respect that to its fullest.

    Consider yourself lucky dear... for if I were your honey, you'd be looking for a new hive right about now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Wrongfully Arrested For Domestic Violence

    Sorry to hear that you are in a similar situation.

    You must be horrified and stunned right now.

    I do consider myself extremely lucky. My guy is a really great. If your case involves a significant other with mental health issues you should be more understanding, its a medical problem and not a personality flaw. You should help her get the medical treatment she needs and not leave her (hive) if you truly love her.

    Feel free to share your case, I am not territorial regarding my post.

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