• Chad Dorsk

What Should I Do If I’m Arrested For Domestic Violence

Getting arrested for domestic violence is one of the most disruptive moments anyone can experience. The word “domestic” says it all. This not only affects you, but it affects your “domestic” life, meaning that the crime you are arrested for affects those who are closest to you. This can often involve spouses, live-in partners, siblings, parents, and children. Either way, the parties involved not only know each other, but are most likely invested in each other emotionally. An arrest for domestic violence can tear apart families, drive a wedge in relationships, and drastically change everyone’s home-life for a significant period of time. If you, or someone you love, has been arrested for domestic violence, please read this to get a better idea of what to expect in the very near future.


If you have been arrested for domestic violence, whatever you told the police at the time you were arrested will come back to haunt you. When the police arrive at a domestic violence situation, all parties tend to be emotional, and very rarely are people thinking clearly. No matter how emotional you are, you may always invoke your right to remain silent, and your right to an attorney.


In a domestic violence arrest, there is always a “defendant” (the person arrested) and at least one “victim.” If the police respond to a domestic violence call, someone is going to get arrested, period. You will not be able to talk yourself out of it, so it is better to say absolutely nothing at all.


Having handled hundreds of domestic violence cases, there are many situations where one party calls the police but does not want the other person to get arrested. No matter the reason for your call, if there is an on-going argument, someone is going to be arrested and taken to jail. The police will obtain a sworn statement from everyone involved. All statements by witnesses and victims are sworn, and while the story may change, whatever is written on the witness statement will be used as evidence against you in the case. If the victim writes a statement in anger, those words will also come back to haunt you.


There is a crucial stage of the criminal proceedings called “Intake.” This is the time period between when you are arrested and when formal charges are filed. This is the time where the most productive work can be done from a defense standpoint.


Most State Attorney’s Offices have a specialized unit who handle Domestic Violence Intake. There is a designated attorney, or attorneys, who review all domestic violence cases, speak to victims, and determine what charges to file. When a client hires my firm, we immediately make contact with the filing attorney to try to discuss the case with them before charges are filed. Remember, a police report is a document that is designed to get you arrested and designed to have charges filed against you. Without having an attorney, there will be no voice to share your side of the story. It is easier to prevent the train from running than stopping the train once it’s on the tracks.


All arrests have lasting effects that can hinder you for the rest of your life, but none more than an arrest for domestic violence. Being arrested for domestic violence can prevent you from obtaining future employment opportunities, can cause you to lose professional licenses, and can even result in being evicted from your rental home. In addition, an arrest for domestic violence can cause you to lose your concealed weapons permit, or prevent you from obtaining one in the future.


At the Dorsk Law Office, we take into consideration the lasting effects and we take the responsibility of thinking about your future throughout the case. Having practiced criminal defense in Hampton Roads for over a decade, we understand just how difficult this can be. In most situations, getting arrested for domestic violence is the first time many of my clients have ever been arrested. If you are in this situation, you need someone to help you throughout the process, someone who can fight for you, someone who will listen to your personal situation, and someone who has the experience to help you think about your future while you are trying to put your life back together.


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