Cop Talk: What to Do if your Wife Calls the Cops and Falsely Alleges Abuse

So how does one avoid problems with the police if your wife, girlfriend or ex calls 911 and falsely alleges abuse? If you read the material in the first two articles, Domestic Violence Statistics and Police Procedures and What Not to Do If your Abusive, High-Conflict Wife Calls the Police on You, you are ahead of the game. The rest is an individual choice in how to act when the cops show up.

Be polite. You don’t have to kiss my ass as the responding officer and you don’t have to call me sir.

Please do me the courtesy of listening to what I have to say. I have probably already been to a similar call and know how things work locally (e.g., the court, state’s attorney, state laws, etc.,) and would much rather solve a problem without arresting anyone.

Don’t yell. Ask yourself if yelling and screaming at the responding officer is going to help your cause?

You have a penis and are already, in the opinion of the man-hating, Oprah-worshipping crowd, at a disadvantage. Don’t be meek and cower. It is okay to be angry. I get that part. Don’t yell, it does not help.

Don’t expect to win the first (or second or third, and so on) round. She has been building a case and practicing the tactics that work for her (tears on demand is a great example) on YOU for years. The responding officer has probably not met your wife and is unaware of what a deadly predator she really is.

Get to a safe location and call the police. Pushing your way past your crazy wife or picking her up and moving her out of your way if she is blocking your egress is not battery or assault or even disorderly conduct. She may claim it, but it is not.

If you walk up and smack her on the ass or grab her breasts as you push past that is battery (i.e., offensive touching), so use your head.

Be calm. Easier said than done. I know. Years ago, I had to call the police on a crazy ex-girlfriend who showed up at my home wanting a gun back. I called. The dispatcher didn’t believe me.

The responding officers blew it off and would not take custody of the pistol in question. One of them said, “Well just give it back.” They drove past her on the way to the house I was living in at the end of a cul-de-sac. I turned the gun in at the police department myself and claimed I just did not want it anymore.

The following are questions Dr. T asked and my answers:

Q: If you know your wife is calling the cops on you, because she’s taunting you and you see her dial 911, what should you do while the police are en route? Should you go outside and wait? Should you go outside and annd call a friend, family member, etc., to stay on the phone with you to act as a witness in case the crazy wife is still screaming, taunting, being violent, etc?

A: Call 911 on your way out the door. Get safe. Go to a neighbor’s house if you can or your driveway if you can’t.

Get in your car and drive a short distance away. Your 911 call is recorded by the dispatch center as is hers. It would sound like this: “Hi, I’m Bob Smith. I live at 123 Main Street and I’m having an argument with my wife. I’m leaving the house to get away from her as I don’t want any more trouble. I will be waiting in my car down the street.”

If you have been drinking, just wait in the driveway. It’s the safe choice, plus you won’t face a potential DUI in addition to a possible domestic dispute. No admissions about WHAT happened other than you had an argument.

Q: What is the most important information to give to officers? Obviously, you should let them know whether there are fire arms/other weapons on the premises and where your licenses are. Should you immediately say, I didn’t hit her. She’s angry because blah, blah, blah and said she was going to show me who’s boss by calling the police”?

A: Answer the dispatch questions, which are usually, “Any guns? Any intoxication or drug use? Is anyone injured?”

Remember that the call is being recorded and use that to your advantage. Telling the story of the craziness or abuse to the dispatcher is pointless.

Wait for the police and tell them what happened. If you have a gun (concealed, carry or what not) DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get it out. Just be calm and tell the cops you have a legally carried/possessed firearm and where it is. We’ll take care of the rest. Gunplay is a safety issue. Don’t change a domestic call into  gun arrest by being stupid.

Q: If possible, what items should a man grab and keep on his person if he knows the cops are on their way? ID? Cell phone? Car keys? Wallet? Flash drive with recording/journal/digital video documenting wife’s abuse?

A: If you can grab that stuff, sure. I would keep a kit packed in your car if the conflict level is that high.

Q: Alternately, if a man’s wife/girlfriend has been threatening to call the cops on him, what items should a man keep in a hidden “survival kit” to have at the ready? Where should he keep them? A hiding place in the garage? The trunk of his car?

A: I recommend keeping it in his office or some other location she cannot readily access or has any reason to go to.

Pack like your are going on a short 3-5 day trip with the addition of call phone, laptop, records, etc. Get copies off ALL the important documents well beforehand to avoid the fight. Scan them to a thumb drive, email copies to yourself, and file the hard copies somewhere she can’t get to them.

Q: If a man’s wife has been threatening to call the cops, should he visit his local police to let them know she is making these threats and present any evidence that there is a history of abuse, but that she is the perpetrator? I think threatening to call the cops is an immediate and irrevocable deal-breaker, but many guys stay in the relationship despite the threats of false arrest and risk to their freedom, livelihood, access to their children and reputation.

A: Maybe. This is one of those case-by-case things. I have had many people come into my department for exactly this reason. Some of the stuff is hearsay and reports are just not going to be appropriate. Your own records are sufficient for this type of thing in a civil setting.

If the threats to call police are coupled with threats to take kids, fake an injury, hit him and get the police to arrest him, etc., then absolutely make a report. Some cops will not take the report, but then just ask for a supervisor or point out to the police officer that a short report may save him or his agency much effort in the future when she goes off for real.

A report now gives Police her cell phone, alternate addresses, nature of the threat she’ll make, etc. Keep talking your way up the food chain until you get a “yes.” If you are a normal, sober and sane individual getting a report generated should not be a problem.

Thanks, Mark. This is very helpful information. Next week, I will publish the first in a series of Q & A between Mark and Denis, a regular Shrink4Men commenter.

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

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  1. says

    Important to understand that if a man HAS been drinking and waits in the driveway he could still be charged with a DUI if he is in possession of the car keys. You don’t have to be in the car or driving, only have to be in physical possession of the vehicle (i.e. holding the keys).

    Would recommend that if there are important keys on the same ring as your car keys, maybe make copies that can be accessed quickly (office, safe or deposit box keys)

    • Ken says

      DUI for having keys…but not in a car??


      At least in Virginia & California — review of those two state’s laws shows the explicit requirement to “drive” and/or “operate” (the latter is included in Virginia) a motor vehicle. The terms “drive” & “operate” are also defined by statute in those states. Standing in the driveway with keys fails to meet or breach the statutory threshholds; it is impossible to “drive” or “operate” a vehicle if the vehicle is rendered inoperable/undrivable as is the case when the keys and/or human are removed.

      GI DAD: Provide your statutory reference(s) for this bizarre assertion that clearly does not apply in two benchmark states. Taking the asserted logic quickly leads to bizarrely nonsensical, arbitrary & capricious scenarios….

      This reads like GI Dad extrapolated the principle associated with firearms–that under BATF-administered rules a component of a gun is treated as a complete firearm (e.g. shipping/mailing rules are the same for a complete firearm or a minor component)?

      • Ken says

        Maybe Ohio:

        There, if one is intoxicated AND in possession of the car keys AND in the driver’s seat THEN one might be considered in possession of the car.

        In Minnesota a guy was convicted of ‘being in control’ when he took a nap in the driver’s seat, in his driveway, with the keys in the center console…even though the car would not start, which the arresting officer confirmed.

        If there’s circumstantial evidence that a person had driven while drunk, or clearly had intent to drive while drunk, then one might also be arrested….

        That’s still a bit of a ways from just being in the driveway…but getting too close for comfort…I’m opting for ignorance & worry only about where I am….

  2. Mark says

    Hi GI Dad.

    Good point. A DUI arrest from this type of contact is rare but could happen. Pretty low order of probability as long a the party involved cooperates even a little bit when Police get involved. “Possession of the keys / control of car” arrests for DUI can be tough to prove up in court, at least with the system in place in the county I work in.

  3. TheGirlInside says

    That seems like great advice. I found a list of items from my divorce that my attorney had requested:

    If you have a private location outside the house, and you are getting ready to get ready to leave, start stockiling the following items.

    Make copies – take original yourself, leave her the copy.

    Past three years tax returns, including W-2 forms.
    Current pay stubs from beginning of year to present.
    past six months bank statements for all checking and savings accounts (upon verifying, provide current month’s bank statement)
    Verification of debts (credit card statements, invoices, monthly statements, etc.)
    verification of assets (monthly / quarterly statement of any asset–retirement accounts, real estate, vehicle titles, etc)
    boat, motorcycle, RV titles
    NADA (blue book) value of automobiles (highlight car value–you can get this information from bank, car dealership, etc.)
    Warranty Deed or Quit Claim Deed to all real estate, including residence and any/all land
    verification of medical insurance cost for children only
    verification of monthly day care / education cost for children
    cost of transportation (for visitation)
    Verification of other child support payments being made by or to you for children from a previous relationship.
    Property tax statements –can get online from county assessor’s office website
    If possible, get a market valuation of your home. “Planning on selling”

    I would add copies of birth certificates and make sure you know her full SSN.

  4. Stefano says

    Hi. Well for the record from someone who has been there and got the T shirt on this subject here goes my advice…Firstly it pays to be nice to the Police, get them onside and let them see you are a sane, rational human being that has been wronged. It’s no good ranting at them and remember they are not on anyones side…yet!

    If like me they come back next day and arrest you because your mad partner has bruising to her upper arms where basically I held on for dear life whilst the punches rained down on my head…then just go quietly, you will get your chance for your say later. Once at the Police staion you will be processed like a criminal and have to sit in a cell till your lawyer/defence gets their.

    Thankfully I had a fantastic lawyer that once he saw my split lip and bruised neck and face made mincemeat of the Police. If you are not this lucky don’t worry because unless their are witnesses, and believe me they knowcked on all the streets doors to try and get a witness, then it is your word against hers.

    The Police looked at her evidence and even laughed how she had portrayed me to be violent and aggressive and recommended they take at least 2 officers to arrest me, so you see going quietly and with belief fully that you have done no wrong is really worth the while.

    Anyway…I was lucky because she made a mess of her made up story! But I did help myself by being cool and calm and waiting for my say, by getting a good defence lawyer at the station and by getting the Police on my side by describing all the abuse I had suffered in months gone by.

    Hell, they even took me home and the lady officer gave me a genuine hand shake and said…and I quote “please stay away from her, I can see from her report that she is unhinged, I don’t want to be coming back here and find you stabbed sir!”

    So you see folks! If you are genuine and you are innocent then trust in yourself and the people to see through these crazy accusations! the Police are trained to immediately assess people and situations and the lady officer told me “I knew within 5 minutes that you are not the type of person to have done the crazy things she has put in the report” Imagine if I had ranted and raved at them and caused trouble…Not good for you at all!

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