Interviewer: What does the average person need to know about getting charged with assault?
Lauren Scardella: Call a lawyer if you get charged because it’s really complicated. There’s not going to be much use in trying to figure it out for yourself as a layperson. You will need the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you with your case.
There Are Many Different Types of Acts Encompassed Under the Umbrella of Domestic Violence
Interviewer: I’ve heard these terms like domestic violence, domestic battery and family violence, is that all pretty much the same thing?
Lauren Scardella: They don’t really encompass the same thing. Domestic violence is a catchall term for all of the different offenses that could be charged. It could be assault, harassment, stalking. It could be something that you might not normally think of, like invasion of privacy or rape. There are many different types of acts that are encompassed under this big umbrella of domestic violence.
If There is a Visible Physical Injury at a Domestic Violence Call, then Someone Will be Charged by the Police
Interviewer: When the initial call to the police is made, is there always going to be an arrest?
Lauren Scardella: No, there’s not always going to be an arrest. But if there’s a physical injury that’s visible, usually the police officer is going to charge somebody. Usually, even if both parties have been involved in hitting or something along those lines, it’s almost guaranteed the male in the situation will be arrested. Sometimes, the female gets arrested and sometimes not. There’s a bit of a bias, and men get charged more often perhaps because even if the woman has been involved as well, there is a feeling that the woman needs to be protected. That attitude that still exists.
The Police Department Will File a Complaint if Domestic Violence is Suspected
Sometimes the police are called out on a complaint of maybe two people fighting very loudly and a neighbor calls the police. The couple says, “No, sorry. We’re going to be fine. We apologize,” and a report will be made but no charges get filed. But if the police suspect domestic violence has taken place, they will usually file a criminal complaint against one or both of the parties involved.
The Person Making a False Accusation of Domestic Violence Can be Charged with Filing a False Report
Interviewer: What if it was just a false accusation, what if it was a situation where someone says, “Well, I just wanted to scare him?”
Lauren Scardella: It certainly happens. The person who makes the false accusation can be charged with filing a false report or something of that nature. Police officers have become fairly savvy at recognizing when somebody is saying that they weren’t telling the truth when they really were. In an effort to get them to actually file a complaint, they might say, “Well, if it’s not true, we can charge you with this or that,” but for the most part, people generally are not charged with falsely contacting the police about a domestic violence situation. It does happen but it’s not all that common.