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How do the South Dakota police decide who to arrest in a domestic violence dispute?

Allegations of domestic violence often stem from mutual confrontations rather than overt abuse. In a domestic abuse scenario, one spouse attacks first by verbally belittling the other. Intense fights between intimate partners or spouses can easily sound like domestic violence to others nearby without knowledge of the relationship. 

One of the partners may end up under arrest if someone who witnesses a fight or disagreement calls the cops. You may wonder how South Dakota police decide who to arrest when they show up after a domestic violence report. They weigh various factors when determining who to charge with this crime.

Police officers will look for clear signs of assault and battery

In some cases, one of the people involved in the dispute will claim to be the victim once the police arrive. That person might lie or exaggerate to convince law enforcement officers to arrest the other person involved. 

However, fights often end when the cops come knocking. Spouses may present a united front, denying that anything dangerous took place. If the police notice broken items in the house or physical signs of assault and battery on either spouse, whether it’s ripped clothing or facial bruises, then they might arrest the other person without a warrant. 

South Dakota law allows officers with probable cause who suspect assault and battery to conduct an arrest at that time even if the victim doesn’t ask for such assistance. The state may even pursue charges without the victim’s support, possibly based simply on calls to the police and medical documentation of any injuries. 

Those accused of domestic violence will want to fight back. A conviction for such an offense can limit your employment opportunities and right to possess a firearm and in other areas of your life.