Dealing with a Police Department
General Information on Dealing with a Police Department
Dealing with a police department can be very confusing. Officers may use terms that you do not fully understand. Many of us get our ideas about how law enforcement and the criminal justice system work from television and movies. Real life situations are very different. Many times people confuse civil and criminal issues. If there is not a criminal issue involved and the matter is civil, that is, you would need to use your private attorney to handle the matter, then the only role the Police have is to preserve the peace.
|Frequently Asked Questions About Police||Answer|
Many times people call the police about things that aren’t crimes. Things are said and done by others that may be painful and may seem like crimes, but if they don’t fit the definition of the crime then Police can’t charge or arrest the offending party. Unfortunately, the Police can’t make people behave more cordially or be more courteous.
|Many times disputes between neighbors are civil matters. Civil laws are those areas of the law where Police Officers have no authority to act. And those matters are usually handled in non-criminal courts. When disputes don’t involve a criminal issue, it may be necessary for the complaining party to resort to using their own attorney or, if the parties are agreeable, they can be referred, at no cost, to mediation.|
|Issues of child support, child custody, child visitation, and divorce are civil issues. These are things that you must handle with your private attorney.|
|If your need for the person to leave is because of relationship violence, you can seek a Protective Order through your District Attorney’s Office. If you are seeking to make them leave for other reasons, you may need to pursue an eviction through your Justice of the Peace Office. You can locate more information on where to find Justice of the Peace Courts on these websites: Denton County Justice of the Peace Precincts or Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Precincts.
|People who are suffering from mental illness can’t just be “committed” like in the movies. If they are found to be a risk of harm to themselves or others at the time the Police respond, they may be arrested without a warrant and transported to a mental health facility. They may be there only a short time. You are also able to seek a Mental Health/Chemical Dependency Warrant through a County Mental Health Probate Court. For more information, visit Mental Health Treatment Court Program-Denton County or Emergency Mental Health Commitments - Tarrant County.
|Retrieving or dividing property is a civil matter and you should consult your attorney.
|In most cases, after the initial Police Report, if there was no arrest, your case passes to the hands of a Detective for investigation. You may or may not hear from the Detective depending on how the investigation proceeds. The case may be filed at the County level. The District Attorney’s Office in that County then decides on how the case will be handled. And if it will proceed through the Criminal Justice system.|