Criminal Justice System

When the officer arrives, explain what happened.
You may have the following options:

Criminal Options

  • If the officer has probable cause to believe assault and battery has occurred, the officer will arrest the abuser.
  • A warrant is a legal order authorizing a law enforcement officer to make an arrest. It is based on a sworn statement about what happened.
  • You do not have to be physically injured to apply for a warrant. A warrant can be issued for threats, stalking, property damage and trespassing.
  • If a warrant is issued, the abuser will be arrested and charged with a crime.
  • The abuser maybe released after the arrest. If released, find out from the jail or magistrate if there are any conditions of release.

Civil Options

  • The law enforcement officer who responds to your call for help may request an emergency protective order over the phone. It lasts 72 hours or until the next court day, whichever comes first.
  • If you do not wish to apply for a warrant. (or in addition to the warrant) you may ask for a civil protective order from the magistrate or Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Intake Office in your community.
  • A Protective Order may order the abuser to stay away from you and stop assaulting you.
  • The order is only effective if it has been served on the abuser.

Going to Court

  • If a warrant or a preliminary protective order has been issued, you will be going to court.
  • Be prepared to provide testimony, evidence and witnesses.