What Happens After Harassing Texts Are Reported to Police
This article explains what happens after harassing texts are reported to police or other law enforcement. The first article in this series provides detailed information about how to report harassing texts to law enforcement. This article is the second part in the series.
After you have properly prepared your text message harassment evidence and submitting it to law enforcement, you may be expecting to receive an immediate response from police due to the pain and suffering that you have been caused. However, this typically is not the case at all. In this article we will cover the processes that you need to be prepared for, providing you followed my instructions in the first part of this article. If you did not follow my directions on reporting harassment to police, your results could be completely different.
1. Text Message Harassment Evidence Submitted
One thing you need to realize is that what you have seen on television is not reality. No team of sexy female and ripped male detectives are going to ponder over your evidence in a sleek and stylish boardroom. Nobody is going to be drawing up poster board size charts of your evidence to share with their fellow law enforcement officers and nobody is going to rush to aid you and your family. The only exception to this is if you’re a celebrity and/or your case is newsworthy. And even if you feel your case is worth of being on the news, it most likely won't be unless it involves a celebrity, since the police are already overloaded with crimes of “bigger importance” (in their eyes). Sorry, the truth sucks sometimes.
After your evidence has been submitted it should go to a detective. Do not mistake a detective for a police officer, as they are two completely different roles. A police officer does not have the capabilities of a detective. A detective is a “promotion” from "officer." A detective is able to overstep jurisdiction boundaries to inquire about information. So, with that being said, it really is important to take your case to a person who can truly investigate the case.
So let’s say you did properly submit your evidence and it did go to a detective. You can now expect that they will review your text message harassment evidence.
2. Review of Your Harassment Evidence
The “review process” totally depends on where you live and the person working your case. States like Michigan are far behind in terms of Internet/cyber/“virtual" crime. States like California are on top of their laws and continually adapt to the changing times. While it would be nice to be able to expect that your detective will do something promptly about your harassment, it may not be the reality.
Common Mistakes in Harassment Reports
A review of your case will start off with a look at the evidence you provided. Keep in mind: the detective you are dealing with could be unfamiliar with technology. Unfortunately, there are no current requirements for law enforcement to be computer savvy or have a thorough understanding of Smartphones, IP addresses, Facebook and so on, despite the ever-increasing amount of harassment and stalking occurring using these devices.
Let’s say you have a somewhat up-to-date detective who has the time to invest into trying to figure things out: He or she is going to glance everything over to ensure it makes sense. If you are leaving out valuable details or if things just don’t “add up,” the detective is going to take your case less seriously. Here are examples of what can lead to this situation:
- If someone is harassing you and you continually responded, then you have “fueled the fire.” If you responded with anything other than “Cease Harassing Me,” then you are being a catalyst to the drama. If you do not want to be harassed, then do not respond to the texts. Yes, it hurts badly to have your children called names, but if you text back to defend your children, you are not demanding that the harassment cease. Instead, you are making another attack more likely by showing interest and no fear of the individual harassing you.
- Another major error is leaving out critical details. If you “forgot” to include the page of evidence showing that you spent two hours bombarding the text-message-harasser with texts of your own, you might as well scrap your whole case because you are just as guilty, even if you were provoked and reached your breaking point.
- Additionally, if your evidence is not complied properly, the detective is going to have a near-impossible time trying to navigate it.
3. Getting the “Full Story”
Once again, we have to set aside the crime shows we see on television and look at reality. The detective will not be kicking in the harassers front door and pinning him/her to the ground to fight for the cell phone located in their pocket.
Instead, the detective will either call or possibly (if you are lucky) show up at the culprits door. Most likely they will just call and speak to the harasser over the phone and record his/her “statement.” It is also most likely that the harasser is going to throw the ball back into your court and blame you. If you genuinely are at fault for playing into the harassers game, the entire case will be written off as a “common dispute,” meaning neither party is right or wrong because both parties fed the harassment game.
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4. Detective Decides What Can Be Done
Another common misconception is that the person filing a complaint always gets to decide whether to press charges or not. Have you ever watched (or been to) real court? In this type of situation, an individual doesn’t press charges. The state presses charges if the case is deemed to be something the prosecutor wants to be pursue.
In the event that your text message harasser has sent you death threats or threatened to bomb your vehicle, and then two days later your vehicle is bombed, it is very possible that criminal charges will be pressed, but you will not actually be the one pressing them.
If the detective decided there is nothing that can be done, they will likely just return your evidence.
If your evidence is returned to you and you are told there is nothing that can be done, do not stop striving for justice.