WHY HAVE YOU ARRESTED MY PARTNER?
Domestic violence is a crime. Any unprivileged physical contact is considered assault. The community here in Dover, NH takes it seriously, and has a mandatory arrest policy. We are concerned for your safety and that of your children. You deserve better. The Dover Police Department believes that the aggressive prosecution of the abuser will help achieve the primary goal of victim safety.
CAN I HAVE THE CHARGES DROPPED?
After there is an arrest, the State of NH will file a criminal charge. It has been the policy that domestic assault charges not be dropped. The community feels that without Court intervention the pattern of domestic violence will escalate in severity. Successful prosecution will result in the abuser being required to complete a counseling program.
WHAT ADDITIONAL STEPS CAN I TAKE TO PROTECT MYSELF?
Your safety is the number one priority. You can obtain a restraining order from with the Local District or Superior Court. Also a no-contact order can be instituted as part of a bail condition.
If the Court is closed, you may request the police to obtain a temporary telephonic restraining order.
Additional safety information and suggestions can be obtained through "Haven", a support agency for victims of partner abuse, at 1-800-854-3552.
WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN COURT?:
After there has been an arrest, the abuser will have an arraignment where a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered.
If a not guilty plea is entered, then a trial date will be set up. The victim will be subpoenaed to testify regarding the assault. The trial will be approximately 6-8 weeks later.
A follow-up interview will be conducted by a police detective 2-3 days after the arrest. This involves interviews with the victim, witness(es) and photos of injuries.
A victim advocate will be assigned to the case and will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding your case.
If the case proceeds to trial a prosecutor from the Strafford County Attorney's Office will evaluate the case to determine if your testimony is needed to obtain a conviction. The prosecutor may go forward without your testimony. A judge will then determine a sentence if there is a guilty finding. The Strafford County Attorney's Office prosecutes all domestic violence cases for the City of Dover Police Department.
What Is Stalking
Stalking takes various forms. Someone may be:
New Hampshire passed a stalking law in July 1993. This makes it a crime if someone is repeatedly following you or appearing at your home or engaging in threatening conduct. If the stalker is causing you fear for your safety, you should report the conduct to your local police.
All fifty states have Stalking Laws, but they are not all the same. Again, your local police can highlight the applicable statute.
If you wish to read the New Hampshire Stalking Law, please view the State of New Hampshire Web Site at New Hampshire General Court Legislation Text Search, which provides on-line links to all New Hampshire Laws. Section 633:3-a covers Stalking.
Stalking can last days, weeks, months, and even years. It is important to recognize that not only is the victim in danger, but all people surrounding the victim. Some cases may seem harmless, but they may be quite deadly.
Most victims believe that because they have not been threatened, they are not in any danger. Studies indicate that whether a stalker made a threat has no bearing on whether or not s/he posses a threat.
There are numerous other indicators that cannot be ignored when assessing a stalker’s propensity for violence.
What Steps a Person Can Take
If you become a stalking victim it is important to educate yourself about stalking. There are several national, state, and local organizations that can provide assistance. Assistance or advice can be obtained by calling the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence at 1-800-854-3552 or the National Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Again, your local police are one of the best resources to not only educate yourself, but to assist in developing a safety plan.
There are a few simple steps that should be taken if you think you are being stalked:
If you do not have a restraining order, and you have had some type of relationship with the offender, you may go to the local district or superior court to obtain a domestic violence petition. Even if you haven’t had a relationship with the offender, you may be able to obtain a stalking petition. Both of these petitions (orders) compel the offender to leave you and your family alone. Any and all violations can subject the offender to immediate arrest.
You should keep notes or a journal of any attempts made by the offender to contact or intimidate you. Keep all mail, gifts and/or phone messages. These can be used as evidence and should be turned over to the police. Report each contact.
Tell your family, neighbors, and employer so they can assist you should the offender try to contact you.
For further information contact:
Dover Police Department
46 Locust Street
Dover, New Hampshire 03820
ATT: Special Investigations Bureau
or e-mail your questions to Lieutenant Brant M. Dolleman