How Domestic Assault Acts as a Gateway Charge


Domestic assault in and of itself is a very serious charge, but it can often act as a gateway charge for even more criminal charges if you are not careful. If you are arrested for domestic assault, you may find yourself facing other charges simply because the police were able to enter your home, car, or were able to search your person upon arrest.

The issue is that when the police are called for a domestic assault incident, even if the victim recants their accusation, the police still have to do their due diligence to make sure the victim is not in anymore danger. This means that once the call is placed, the police have the ability to enter your home without a warrant. There they will check on the victim of the domestic assault incident as well as look for anything suspicious. Once inside, they also have a right to do a quick sweep to make sure the home is safe.

What does this mean for you?

Commonly when a domestic assault or domestic violence call is placed, it can turn up other illegal items. In many cases, this means drugs or illegal firearms (or other weaponry). If you have these items in plain sight when a police officer enters the home, you can be arrested for them as well as a domestic assault charge. While this blatantly goes against your Fourth Amendment rights that protect you from illegal search and seizure, this is waived when it comes to domestic assault cases.

This means that not only will you have to defend yourself against the domestic assault charge, but you will also have to defend against drug or firearms charges as well. Furthermore, if you have a substantial amount of cash in the home alongside a large amount of drugs, you can also face harsher drug penalties for intent to sell.

While if you were fighting with your spouse or another family member and someone calls the police, you are required to let them in. However, if no call was placed, you are not obliged to let officers enter your home. It is always crucial that the police disclose that they received a call for domestic assault before you let them in. It is possible to let them in voluntarily, but if you do, then there is no case against it compared to if they forced their way in without a probable cause or a warrant.

When a police officer enters your home on a domestic assault suspicion, be aware that there is little way to guide them away from what you don’t want seen. They will poke around and chat with you to assure the potential victim’s safety. If anyone in the house has bruises or other damage, they will not hesitate to arrest you, but they will still check your house before taking you away. This means that just because they found the perpetrator quickly doesn’t mean that they still can’t turn up other illegal items in the home.

If you have been caught up in the web of domestic assault investigations, whether it be just for the assault or for other charges like drugs or weapons in the home, contact us today. The right criminal defense attorney can help make sure that not only are the charges against you valid, but help get the best possible results in court. At Speas Law Firm will go over every detail of your case to help craft a defense strategy specifically for the unique details. Don’t just hire a defense attorney that will do the bare minimum when you are facing a potential gateway charge like domestic assault.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case. Please read our disclaimer.