In Kansas, police are required to make an arrest whenever they have probable cause to believe there has been a crime of domestic violence. “Domestic violence” is defined broadly. It’s more than just domestic battery. It includes any “act or threatened act of violence” against a family member or someone you are dating. It also includes any crime committed against a person or property when the crime is directed against a family member or someone who you are dating. For example, smashing your girlfriend’s phone is a crime of domestic violence that mandates an arrest.
What is probable cause that triggers a mandatory arrest? The standard is quite low. Someone telling police that it happened can be enough. If your girlfriend’s phone is smashed and she calls and tells police you smashed it, you are probably going to jail unless the police believe she is lying. This is true even if she does not want you to be arrested.
But an arrest does not need to result in a conviction. While only probable cause is needed for an arrest, a conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. An arrest does not even mean a criminal charge will be filed. Prosecutors are not supposed to file any charge they do not believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes charges can be avoided by providing information to a prosecutor before they file charges.
Quick action can be key, though. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even before charges are filed, investigation and negotiation can result in lesser charges or in no charges at all.
For help with your situation, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Joseph, Hollander & Craft.