When Michigan police are responding to a domestic assault situation, they may not be sure what they will find. Because of the unique circumstances surrounding this charge, it can be difficult for police to determine who the victim is and how serious the situation may be. There is some subjectivity to these types of allegations, and the system is not perfect. People may face charges of assault without understanding why.
For example, domestic violence doesn't just involve boyfriends and girlfriends or spouses. A brother and sisters can be involved in a domestic dispute. Parents and children, roommates, and even former residents of the same household can find themselves in a situation where they can be arrested for domestic assault.
In some cases, a fight has broken out and has gotten out of control when police are called. It could be a one-time scuffle between two friends, but police who arrive on the scene are trained to look for a victim and an offender. Even when two people simply got in a fight, police may not want to leave the scene without charging someone with assault. Understandably, they have an obligation to protect people and may need to remove someone from a situation to do so. This just may not always be necessary.
Domestic assault calls can be difficult for law enforcement to understand because often times, people are looking for help in a specific situation, not a long-term punishment. A person may call the police to stop an out-of-control argument, but he or she may not want the other person to be removed from their house for weeks. Because domestic assaults typically occur between two people who are very involved with one another, indefinite removal from a house is not necessarily required.
Of course there are serious abusive and aggressive behaviors that must be punished accordingly. However, not all situations call for a heavy-handed response. Even when witnesses recant their statements, people can face serious consequences for a small argument that spiraled out of control. Any charge of domestic assault should be taken seriously. Working with an attorney may help a person work to avoid or minimize punishments.
Source: INFORUM, "Domestic abuse cases vexing for police," Mike Nowatzki, March 3, 2012