What Is “Mandatory Arrest” for Domestic Violence in Suffolk County?

Today in New York State, when the police are sent to a domestic violence situation, a “mandatory arrest” will be made. If the accuser has pointed at you as the perpetrator, you will be arrested. Period. Even if the accuser changes their mind about pressing criminal charges.  If you are facing a possible mandatory arrest, please contact Suffolk County domestic violence lawyer Jason Bassett for a free consultation.

Why Was This Law Put into Place?

Domestic violence can be emotionally and physically volatile and dangerous, with the implications for great harm well understood.

We all understand the immense societal cost of domestic violence today. In fact, according to the New York City Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee’s 2019 Annual Report, domestic violence homicides accounted for 17.6 percent of all homicides that occurred in New York City from 2010 through 2018. That is a huge figure.

Unfortunately, over the years it also became apparent that victim accounts could not always be relied upon, with many victims retracting their accusations at the end. They did this for various reasons, often unknown, whether they felt some sense of obligation to the perpetrator, or felt trapped by the circumstances, or even by a sense of love. In many cases, however, the call was a false accusation.

In the case of false accusations, mandatory arrests create a whole spectrum of problems for the alleged perpetrator who now faces criminal domestic violence charges, even if the accuser wants to retract the charges. In most cases, an accuser doesn’t understand the very real consequences of charging someone with domestic violence until it is too late.

In addition to the arrest and criminal charges, New York State criminal courts may also issue an order of protection against the accused to keep that person physically away from the accuser. In the case where the couple may share a household, the accused party must now stay away to abide by the order or risk even more criminal charges, having to vacate his or her own home and not having contact with the accuser until the charges have been legally resolved.

Exceptions to Mandatory Arrest

There are exceptions to mandatory arrests for domestic violence cases in New York State. In most cases, the police must establish a primary aggressor. If both parties have a history of misdemeanor arrests, the police will want more evidence that a violent act has occurred. They will want an indication that one party:

  • Has caused injuries to the other party and how serious the injuries are
  • Has threatened future harm to the other or another family member
  • Has a history of prior domestic abuse
  • Acted in a way to defend himself or herself

What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest Is Made?

Once an arrest has been made, the accused will be booked and arraigned before a criminal court. At that time, a judge will review the information and make a determination based on any previous criminal history. At this time, the judge can release the accused on their own recognizance, set bail, or decide to allow the accused to stay in jail without the option of bail to await a hearing. If the defendant has been released, he or she will be given a date to return to court where they will appear before the district attorney.

The unfortunate part of criminal domestic violence cases is the potential impact that they can have on an accused party’s future, particularly when a charge is false. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is critical to get the legal guidance of a skilled New York City criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with domestic violence, contact the law firm of Jason Bassett Criminal Attorney for a free consultation to understand your legal rights.

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