Cheryl and Al are in the kitchen. It’s Saturday morning and Al’s craving pancakes. Cheryl suggests they make them together. Al grabs the eggs, milk and Bisquick from the fridge, and Cheryl grabs the frying pan.
All of a sudden Al’s phone starts ringing. It’s 9:07am on a Saturday morning and Cheryl’s wondering who would be calling him. Al looks nervous. Cheryl reaches across the counter and grabs his phone. The caller ID is flashing the name Megan across the screen.
Megan is Al’s co-worker and for months now Cheryl has been suspicious that Al and Megan are having an affair. Cheryl slams the phone back down on the counter, clutches the frying pan that’s already in her arms and stalks towards Al with a menacing look on her face.
Afraid he is about to be smacked in the face with an iron frying pan, Al grabs a couple of eggs from the carton and hurls them at Cheryl. One of the eggs hits her right in the eye. She drops the frying pan and lets out a yelp in pain. The egg cracked a little when it hit her face and now there’s egg yolk dripping down her cheek. She screams a string of profanities at Al and then in her retaliative rage calls the police.
Unsure of what to do, and feeling a little shell shocked at the moment (pun intended!) Al sits down on the kitchen floor and stays there. When the police arrive Cheryl has a bag of ice over her eye and is telling the cops that Al hit her in the face.
Instead of asking questions the police arrest Al on the spot without listening to his side of the story. Now Cheryl starts freaking out. She wanted to scare Al to teach him a lesson, not actually get him put in jail. He’s never ever hit her before, and she’s not scared of him, she’s just angry.
Unfortunately I’ve had quite a few cases like this, where a dispute been partners gets out of hand. The problem is that when emotions go haywire in the heat of the moment, coupled with a lot of anger, it’s a recipe for disaster - especially when the cops get called.
This is why I always caution people about how the police are trained to think and behave. They are taught to arrest first and ask questions later, which works great for protecting them, but isn’t good for you.
In the case above Cheryl ended up hiring me to represent Al. She felt terrible for calling the cops and didn’t want him to end up with a criminal record. I managed to get the prosecutor to drop the case when Cheryl refused to testify against Al. But he still had to go through the awful process of being arrested and spending a few hours in jail. Plus his mug shot is still out there.
That’s why it’s very important to only call the cops if you truly feel threatened by your partner. Retaliation or punishment might feel great in the moment, but it can quickly turn to guilt and expensive legal bills.