What is a crime of Domestic Violence?
-A crime of Domestic Violence (DV) is any crime involving individuals who are currently or have had in the past an intimate and/or dating relationship. It may include a physical assault. It may also include,Â but is not limited to, the following types of cases; damage to property, theft, refusing a request to leave, violation of a protection order, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace etc.
A police report has been filed and the suspect was not arrested at the scene what happens next?
-Was someone arrested at the time the report was made?
-If they were not arrested at the scene and the crime involves Domestic Violence (DV)
-The police report will be forwarded to the DV unit of the Omaha Police Department.
-An officer will review the report to determine if a crime has been committed.
-If they believe a crime has been committed they will give that information to the County Attorneyâ€™s office for charges to be filed.
-If they do not believe a crime has occurred or that there is insufficient evidence to proceed in a criminal case no further action will be taken.
-If the Police Officer assigned does determine there is enough evidence, they will then forward said affidavit to the Douglas County Attorneyâ€™s Office to review. A Deputy County Attorney will review the affidavit and determine what charge or charges should be filed if any.
A police report has been filed and the suspect was arrested at the time of the incident or arrested on a warrant, what happens next?
-The next step is usually an arraignment hearing
-If the required amount of bond cannot be posted there will be an arraignment hearing which is usually the next business day, excluding holidays after the arrest.
-That hearing is usually held at the jail in court room 50 on regular business days at 1:00pm.
-Court room 50 is at the Douglas County Corrections Center at 710 South 17th Street.
-The Judge will tell the Defendant what they are charged with and the possible penalties.
-If the Defendant cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to them
-The Defendant may enter a plea of guilty and be sentenced, or plead not guilty and be given a trial date and have the bond set.
The Judge issued a No Contact Order, what does that mean?
-A condition of bond in all cases of Domestic Violence is an order issued by the Judge at arraignment that forbids contact with the listed victim, or victims, until the case is resolved. It is the policy of the Douglas County Attorneyâ€™s Office to uphold and defend that â€śNo Contact Order.â€ť The Defendant may be charged with an additional crime if he/she violates that order. In addition to new charges, the Defendant may also have his bond revoked or increased as a result of violating said order.
I posted bond for someone, how do I get that money back?
-If a Defendant can post the bond the bond will be released to the Defendant regardless of who posted the bond.
-The bond will be released upon the resolution of the case, not before.
What if I want to drop charges and/or recant the statements made to the Police?
-Our office will not drop charges under any circumstances. Once a police report is made a Deputy County Attorney will review the reports to determine if a crime has been committed and whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with charges. Once charges are filed, they are filed by the State of Nebraska, not the alleged victim. It is the best interest of the State of Nebraska and the alleged victim to see that an individual accused of Domestic Violence be held accountable for their actions.
-Crimes of Domestic Violence have the potential to pose danger not only to the victim but the victimâ€™s family and society as a whole. The State of Nebraska has a â€śno-dropâ€ť policy to protect not just the individual victim but also to ensure that there is no further violence perpetrated by the accused.
What will happen at a trial?
-There are two types of trials: Jury or Bench.
-A Bench trial is decided by a judge only.
-A Jury trial is decided by a group of citizens.
-At both trials there is evidence presented.
-At trial the witnesses will have the opportunity to testify as to what they saw at the time of the alleged incident.
-Both sides will present evidence that may include witness testimony, copies of 911 call recordings, photographs of injuries and the scene, hospital and doctor reports, telephone records etc.
-After all of the evidence is presented there is a finding of guilty or not guilty.
Will I have to testify?
-The majority of DV cases are resolved prior to trial by a plea agreement. However, if such an agreement cannot be reached you will receive a subpoena that court orders you to appear and testify at trial.
What could the potential sentence be upon a finding of guilt?
-Judges have great latitude in sentencing offenders. They may order the Defendant to pay a fine, be placed on probation, or ordered to serve time in jail. They may order a combination of those things.
-As a part of probation a judge may order the defendant to pay restitution. In order for restitution to be paid, the defendant must be eligible to be placed on probation OR to have posted sufficient bond to pay the requested amount of restitution.
-Only those victims listed in a police report who have been reported to have damage to property may be given restitution.
How do I find out what time/date the trial will be?
-Victims and witnesses will be personally notified in writing of the date, time and location of the trial. Victims and witnesses will receive a letter and legal document called a subpoena that court orders you to appear on the date of trial
What if I received a subpoena but cannot or will not testify?
-A subpoena is a legal document that court orders your appearance. If you choose to ignore the subpoena and do not appear, a judge may find you in contempt of court and issue a warrant for your arrest.
-If you cannot appear for a legitimate reason, you may call the Deputy County Attorney assigned to your case to request a continuance. The hearing will be held in front of the judge assigned and the Defendant and his attorney will be present.
-Continuances are only granted in extreme circumstances.
What is my role in the case and how/when will I be contacted?
-The Douglas County Attorneyâ€™s Office encourages victims to be involved in the process once an arrest has been made.
-A member of our office will contact victimâ€™s to let them know when a Defendant is scheduled to be arraigned and also after the arraignment so that they have information as to potential court dates, bonds set, and any other conditions of a Defendantâ€™s release.
-The Attorney assigned to the case is also available to answer any questions a victim may have and to consult with them regarding any potential plea agreements negotiated with the Defendantâ€™s attorney.
-The Attorney will also notify the victim of any pending sentencing dates or other important hearings.
What do I do if I called the police but they did not take a report?
-You may contact the Omaha Police Departmentâ€™s non-emergency number (402-444-4877).
-You will likely need to leave a message and someone will call you back.
-Insist that a report be made and be persistent.
Where can I get help?
-You are not alone in this process. There are several organizations who specialize in domestic violence issues that are waiting to help you through the process. The Douglas County Victim Assistance Unit is here to provide support services for you. The YWCA also offers many resources for victims of domestic violence and their families. Please see the list of important phone numbers for more information.
How can I get a Protection Order?
-If you are in fear of your safety, you may obtain a court order to prevent an individual from contacting you.
-You need to contact the Douglas County Clerks Office obtain a Protection Order.
-More information may be found on their website, including forms to obtain a protection order:
-4th Judicial District of Nebraska in Douglas County