What Happens When I Call
It is important that you tell the officer who comes out in response
to the 911 call if you, your child, or any other household resident
has been injured, or if you feel you are going to be in danger if
the officer leaves.
STEP BY STEP
you call 9-1-1 during or after an assault, you should tell the 9-1-1
operator what happened and where you are located.
This is especially important if you are calling from a cell phone,
because they will not be able to find you otherwise.
Two police units will be dispatched to your location to find out
If you change your mind about reporting the incident the officers
will respond anyway and will need to check your welfare and write
a report. They will also need to check the area for the person who
If that person, the suspect, is still there, then he or she will
be arrested if an assault with injury (Class A misdemeaner) or aggravated
assault (3rd degree felony) has occurred.
If the suspect is not there, then the officer will get information
from you, including photographs of any injuries and a brief statement
about what happened.
The officer will write a report and it will be sent to the Family
Violence Unit to be investigated by a detective. In either situation,
you may request that a crisis team be dispatched so that you can
talk with a Victim Services counselor on the scene.
If the suspect is arrested you may request that an emergency protective
order (EPO) application be filled out by the officer.
2. If the suspect is arrested
at the scene then he or she will be taken to Travis County Jail.
Depending on the charge he or she may only be in jail for a short
period of time (sometimes less than one day). He or she will go
before a judge to be magistrated (formally charged with the crime)
and the judge will consider the EPO application at that time.
The judge will also set bond, which is the amount of money required
by the suspect to get out of jail. Bond is basically an agreement
that the suspect will return for their court date.
If the suspect meets certain criteria then he or she can get out
on personal recognizance (PR bond). However, someone from the jail
is supposed to contact you first to find out if you are afraid of
him or her.
If you are then you should not sign anything authorizing him or
her to get out on a PR bond. That does not mean he or she can't
get out of jail; it just means that they will have to come up with
10% of the bond money.
Bond can be set for any amount, but is usually about $1500 for
a first offense and as high as $10,000 or $20,000 for more serious
or multiple offenses.
If a person cannot pay the bond, then he or she is held in custody
at Del Valle Correctional Facility until trial. The trial will usually
occur within 1-3 months of the incident, but this can be delayed
3. If the suspect was not
arrested, then the case gets assigned to an APD or Travis County
Sheriff's Office detective.
This detective will read the officer's report, review the victim
statement, and look at any physical evidence (photographs of injuries,
weapons used, etc.) and determine if he/she has probable cause to
go to a judge to get a warrant.
If the detective does not have probable cause (a belief that the
incident happened as stated in the report) then he/she will attempt
to contact the victim via phone or mail to obtain a statement.
At that time you can come to the Family Violence Protection Team
to write out a complete statement of what happened.
Regardless of whether an arrest was made or not, the assigned detective
will always need a statement from you if the assault was aggravated.
An aggravated assault exists if a weapon was used or exhibited during
the assault or if the victim suffered serious bodily injury.
4. Once the detective has
probable cause he or she can then go to a judge and request that
a warrant be issued for the arrest of the suspect.
After a warrant is issued officers from the fugitive unit will
look for the suspect to arrest him or her.
They will go to the suspect's last known address, workplace, or
wherever else he or she may be found. If you have knowledge of where
the person may be found, you can give that information to the detective
or counselor assigned to your case.
5. Every Class A misdemeaner
and all felony cases of family violence are also assigned to a Victim
This counselor will try to contact you by phone or by visiting
your home if you don't have a phone. It is helpful if you can provide
the officer with a safe phone number where messages can be left
for you, so that the counselor and detective can reach you.
The counselor will give you updated information on the case and
will offer services to you such as information, safety planning,
crime victim's compensation details, and referrals for community
The counselor will also make a report to Child Protective Services
(CPS) if any children living in your home were injured or at risk
of being injured as a result of the violence incident.
This does not necessarily mean that CPS will send out an investigator,
but it is a possibility.
It is essential that you tell the officer or counselor the names,
ages, and schools of all children residing in the household and
where they were during the incident.
6. Even if no criminal violence
has occurred, but you have called 9-1-1 because you are afraid it
might occur if you don't get help, officers will still respond to
the scene and write a report.
You may still request a Victim Services counselor.
Be sure to tell the officer if you are in fear for your safety
if he or she leaves your location. Arrangements can be made to assist
you in finding shelter for you and your children if needed.
Quiz: Should I stay or should
Legal Services Links:
County Attorney's Office
County District Attorney's Office
Legal Aid of Central Texas
Social Services Links:
SafePlace: Domestic Violence
and Sexual Assault Survival Center
Austin Child Guidance
Violence Hotlines and Resources
National Domestic Violence
Violence Against Women
Agaianst Men and Women
Family Violence Awareness
on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
Child Abuse America
Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect