Domestic violence is a serious issue, and one that understandably results in significant criminal consequences. But because domestic violence occurs between family members or two people in a relationship, it is not always easy for outsiders to correctly distinguish between what is legally considered to be domestic violence and what amounts to a lovers’ quarrel.
If police are called, the alleged perpetrator will likely face criminal charges. Many Wisconsin residents may not realize this, but once police make an arrest, they can pursue charges of domestic violence against someone even if the alleged victim does not agree to cooperate.
There are certainly incidents that warrant police intervention. But a significant number of domestic violence defendants find themselves facing criminal charges because a neighbor or an angry significant other decided to call the police, even if a given argument does not rise to the meet the legal definition of domestic violence.
A recent news story appears to illustrate this point well. Earlier this month, a 40-year-old Minnesota man was arrested and charged with domestic assault for throwing his burrito at a woman during an argument.
Police arrived at the man’s home at approximately 9:45 p.m. one night. When they surveyed the scene, they found that the woman had burrito toppings on her shoulder and head. She and the defendant had been having an argument about cigarettes, according to police, and the man had allegedly thrown the burrito at her in anger.
It is unclear who called police, but the woman in the argument told the officers she was frightened. The man was arrested and charged with domestic assault. The charges may be especially consequential because the defendant is apparently already on probation for another incident and these charges would constitute a probation violation.
There may be more to this story than was reported, including more details that might substantiate the criminal charges. But it nonetheless illustrates that police intervention in alleged domestic violence situations may result in charges regardless of the severity of the offense.
It doesn’t matter if the police were called by a neighbor who heard shouting or by a significant other who was feeling vindictive; things can quickly get out of hand. That’s why anyone facing domestic violence charges may wish to seek the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney.
Source: Austin Daily Herald, “Alleged argument leads to assault with burrito,” Matt Peterson, July 25, 2012