Domestic Violence Charges Cannot be Taken Back: Cops Are Not Marital Counselors

The situation is far too common. A couple has a little argument, or a big argument for that matter. There is no violence. There are no threats, no fear, no injuries, no harm. But one of the parties thinks for whatever reason it might be helpful to have a third party on the scene. So the police are called. Big mistake. Cops are not marital counselors. They are there for one reason, and one reason only, and that is typically to make an arrest.

From Domestic Argument to Arrest

There are countless cases, no doubt one is happening as we speak, where what to most would appear to be a normal argument leads to the arrest of one of the parties. Both the caller, the alleged victim, and what is now the defendant are horrified at the lack of reason on the part of the cops. Why would the cops take such harsh measures to break up a simple argument? The answer is because they must generally as a matter of public policy.

The cops are in a pretty tricky situation here. They cannot get on the scene and hold court to determine whether an act of domestic violence has occurred. Nor can they typically simply leave the parties to their own devices. The cops cannot or will not typically risk a situation where a victim is injured or even killed after the cops have left the scene. Domestic violence is unpredictable. It is the most dangerous situation a cop faces during the course of a day. The cops want to get in and get out. They do not want to risk the safety of the parties, and they certainly do not want to risk their own safety. They separate the parties, and the only way to insure this is to arrest of one of them.

A Domestic Violence Charge Cannot be Taken Back

Once the process is started, and charges are filed, there is no turning back. You cannot call the DA as many erroneously believe and drop the charges. The State is prosecuting the case, not you. Much like the cops, the DA is not going to drop a case for fear of a false recanting of the charges. In other words, how do they know you are not simply the battered spouse that cannot let go of the relationship? How can they possibly know after the initial call that you are truly safe, that you were lying when you called 911, but are telling the truth now? They can't and they simply do not take those chances in New Mexico. Once the case is filed, the case must runs its course which can be long, expensive and stressful. This is a separate topic.

So what is the lesson? The lesson is not that the cops should never be called. Certainly, there are cases where the safety of one of the parties demands law enforcement. However, don't call the cops unless they are truly needed. You will be very unhappy with the outcome of your call. They are not there to talk.

Parrish Collins

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