Contact Us for a Free Consultation (256) 533-4529

How do the police decide who to arrest in a domestic violence case when there are two different stories?

 Alabama law specifically directs the police on how to act in the situation. Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-6-134

When a police officer receives complaints of domestic violence from two or more people and both have injuries, the officer is to evaluate each person individually to try to determine who the predominant aggressor was.

The officer may consider a number of factors to do this. They might look at who has the injuries and how severe they are as well as the likelihood of future injury to either party and whether someone was acting in self-defense they will also consider if there been previous complaints of domestic violence regarding one or both of the parties.

In my experience, usually at least one person's going to jail and sometimes, the police may arrest both parties.

Of course, if you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with domestic violence you need to speak with an attorney right away. If you'd like our help, just give us a call.

Alabama Code  Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-6-134

 (a) If a law enforcement officer receives complaints of domestic violence from two or more opposing persons, or if both parties have injuries, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine who was the predominant aggressor. If the officer determines that one person was the predominant physical aggressor, that person may be arrested; however, a person who acts in a reasonable manner to protect himself or herself or another family or household member from domestic violence, as defined in Section 13A-6-139.1, may not be arrested for a violation of Section 13A-6-130, 13A-6-131, or 13A-6-132 . In determining whether a person is a predominant aggressor the officer shall consider all of the following:

(1) Prior complaints of domestic violence.

(2) The relative severity of the injuries inflicted on each person, including whether the injuries are offensive versus defensive in nature.

(3) The likelihood of future injury to each person.

(4) Whether the person had reasonable cause to believe he or she was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of any act of domestic violence, as the terms are defined in Section 13A-6-139.1.

(5) Whether one of the persons acted in self-defense.