Are the police allowed to arrest someone for domestic violence when no violence occurred based off of the so-called witnesses testimony?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Are the police allowed to arrest someone for domestic violence when no violence occurred based off of the so-called witnesses testimony?

My boyfriend and I had an argument that lasted less than 5 minuets in my

parked car with the tinted windows completely up. Within the few minutes that we were there a woman across the busy street called 911 and reported that I

was being strangled by my boyfriend. The police stated my neck had red marks therefore they had to arrest him even though I told them he had not

touched me. I never even saw the marks on my neck because there weren’t any. I have a severe anxiety disorder and I do tend to scratch my neck chest and arms. However, I do not understand how it is legal for them to arrest my boyfriend off of a false claim and no actual injury even with my statement saying he did not touch me.

Asked on May 21, 2018 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The police can arrest when there is sufficient credible evidence, including the testimony of a witness they deem credible or believable, to think that it is more likely than not that a crime occured. (It takes more/stronger evidence, "beyond a reasonable doubt," to convict.) The police often do NOT believe the alleged victim's claims that nothing occured, since experience has taught the legal system that the victim of domestic violence is often so afraid of the abuser as to not be wiling to testify against him. If a person who has no stake in the outcome (so no reason to lie) claims she saw you being strangled and there were red marks on you neck, that is sufficient to arrest.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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