What To Do After A Domestic Violence Arrest

What To Do After A Domestic Violence Arrest

What do you do after you've been arrested for domestic violence?

The world spins on its axis, but your whole life is just tilted sideways. The flashing lights, the raised voices, and the cold metal cuffs—a domestic violence arrest can leave you feeling disoriented and scared. Maybe you’re confused, or maybe you’re angry. 

This isn’t how things were supposed to go. But here you are, facing a situation you never planned for. Take a deep breath. You’re not alone. This guide will walk you through the immediate steps to take after a domestic violence arrest, helping you stay safe and protect your rights.

Stay Calm and Cooperate

Don’t put up a fight if the cops try to take you in and don’t run that mouth arguing with them. Rather, be polite, and give up basic details like your name and such if they ask.

But here’s the real deal: you have the right to keep those lips sealed about what went down with the domestic violence incident itself. There’s no need to spill any beans that could land you in hot water later.

Pro Tip: If the officers keep grilling you, just calmly repeat that you won’t be answering any questions related to the case. Don’t get riled up or say anything that could be used against you down the line.

Know Your Rights

When those cops read you your Miranda rights, that’s your cue to zip those lips and demand an attorney to have your back. Don’t just nod along—speak up and make it crystal you want to exercise the right to keep mum and get a domestic violence lawyer on deck, pronto.

Pro Tip: Be firm but keep it cool when stating your rights. No need to get all riled up or disrespectful towards the officers. A simple ‘I invoke my right to remain silent, and I want my attorney present’ will do the trick.

Work with a Domestic Violence Lawyer

Need a trusted domestic violence lawyer? Don’t try winging it alone. Working with a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence can mean the difference between your rights getting steamrolled or having a champion who’ll leave no stone unturned fighting for you.

Pro Tip: Not sure where to start your attorney hunt? No sweat – inform your local bar association. Or check in with legal aid organizations within your area. These professionals are connected and can point you towards some of the biggest domestic violence law aces.

Don’t Discuss the Case

Don’t talk about the details of the domestic violence incident with anyone at the jail, including fellow detainees. This information can be used against you later in your domestic violence case.

Prepare for Court

Once your bail hearing is scheduled, your domestic violence lawyer will advise you on the next steps. This may involve preparing your defence against the domestic violence charges or negotiating a plea bargain.

Sad Young Woman Sitting on the Floor In the Hallway of Her Appartment, Covering Face with Hands. Atmosphere of Depression, Trouble in Relationship, Death in the Family. Dramatic Bad News Moment
Credit: gorodenkoff on Istock.

The Court Appearance

During your court appearance, the judge will decide on bail, restraining orders (also known as temporary protection orders), and any potential domestic violence charges. Your domestic violence lawyer will represent you and present your case.

Gathering Evidence (if applicable)

If you’re claiming innocence of the domestic violence charge, work with your lawyer to gather evidence that supports your side of the story. This could include witness statements, medical records showing any physical harm, or any physical evidence related to the domestic violence incident.

Protection and Safety

If you fear for your safety upon release from jail, discuss options with your lawyer. This may involve a restraining order protecting you from the alleged victim or temporary relocation measures.

Addressing the Underlying Issues

Domestic violence is a complex issue. Regardless of the legal outcome of your domestic violence case, consider seeking counselling or support groups to address the root causes of the situation.

Additional Points to Remember

Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanours or felonies, depending on the severity of the incident and whether weapons were involved. 

  • A misdemeanour domestic violence conviction can result in jail time, fines, and a criminal record. 
  • A felony domestic violence conviction can lead to significant prison time, hefty fines, and long-term consequences like difficulty finding employment or housing.

If you have prior convictions for domestic violence offences, any new domestic assault charge is likely to be more severe.

Moreover, law enforcement officers (police officers) have a duty to investigate domestic violence incidents and arrest the primary aggressor, the person they believe poses imminent physical harm to the other person involved. They may make an arrest based on probable cause, even if there are no visible signs of physical harm.


Being arrested for a domestic violence offence is a life-altering experience. By following these steps, you can navigate this difficult situation and protect your future. Remember, resources and support are available. You don’t have to go through this legal process alone.

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