Heated exchanges can take a quick and criminal turn in the blink of an eye when police respond to a call of domestic violence.

Under these circumstances, people can be unsure of what’s happening or what rights they have. To help people get a better handle of what to do in such scenarios, we explain a few things Georgia residents can expect when police respond to a domestic violence call below.

  1. Expect police to make an arrest. Police will often arrest a party if they believe a domestic violence act has occurred. An arrest is not mandatory in Georgia, as it is in some states, but officers can and often do make an arrest if there is probable cause. Remember that an arrest does not mean a person is guilty or even charged with a crime. Do not fight or resist arrest or you risk making matters worse; ask to speak with an attorney right away.
  2. Expect them to look for the aggressor. Police have training in responding to domestic violence calls and looking for evidence to determine who is the aggressor — though, they are not always right. They assess injuries, speak with the parties involved and identify any other physical details. This includes the size of the people involved. If a large man and a small woman were involved in an altercation, chances are police will view the larger party as the aggressor unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  3. Expect them to be cautious. As this article on police responses notes, police are trained to approach domestic violence calls carefully and quickly. They will typically separate the parties, take pictures and respond even if the alleged victim recants or states that someone else called the police. In other words, expect police to be cautious and prepared to respond aggressively, if necessary. As such, parties should not try to run away, assault the officers or make any threats. Instead, it is wise to try to stay calm, report the facts and comply with police orders.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, you can already be dealing with a lot of fear or anger. Should police respond, knowing what to expect can help you avoid any mistakes that might make the situation more heated.