What is The CT Mandatory Arrest Law?

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Before 2019, when people called the police to report domestic violence in their own homes, it was possible that the one who reported the incident would get arrested as well. The reason for this is that Connecticut was among some states that had mandatory dual arrest laws in place. 


To illustrate, let’s say that Sam and Jessie’s verbal argument turned into a physical fight. Jessie hurled a heavy object at Sam, and Sam responded by kicking Jessie, so Jessie contacted the police. When the police officer arrived, they spoke to both parties separately, and both parties told the officer that the other had party assaulted them. 


Since the officer had cause to believe that both parties had assaulted each other, the officer would be required under law to arrest both Sam and Jessie. Consequently, both parties would probably be charged with domestic violence for assaulting each other. The problem with the dual arrest law is that victims would usually avoid contacting the cops because they were scared that they too might be arrested. 


In addition, because the mandatory arrest law is based solely on probable cause, it doesn’t depend on the victim’s isolated request, the parties’ relationship with each other, and the consent of the victim. This is why on January 1, 2019, the state finally passed the dominant aggressor law, which gives the police the ability to arrest just one person rather than two persons. 


The Police Have The Power to Decide Who’s The Aggressor and Who’s The Victim


With the dominant aggressor law, when two opposing parties report domestic violence complaints to an officer and the officer has probable cause to determine that both parties were “violent,” it would be up to the officer to arrest whom they determine to be the dominant aggressor. The new law likewise mandates officers to use these five factors when figuring out who is the dominant aggressor: 


  1. Any domestic violence history
  2. Threat of injury
  3. Whether anyone acted in self-defense
  4. The specific nature and extent of any injury
  5. The victim’s needs


The passing of this new law will help to ensure that domestic violence victims are protected and will not be arrested by those whose protection they sought in the first place. On the other hand, there are various reasons why an individual might be wrongfully arrested and charged with domestic violence. Likewise, giving the police officer the power to determine which individual to arrest means that an officer might sometimes arrest the wrong individual. 


In some cases, an aggressor might talk the police into arresting the other party, or an individual who’s a victim of systemic domestic violence could appear to be the aggressor when they’re really not. Gender stereotypes might also influence an officer’s decision. 


Reach Out to an Enfield Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today


Have you been wrongfully arrested for or charged with domestic violence in Connecticut? Get in touch with Berman & Russo as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. You can schedule a free consultation with our Enfield domestic violence defense attorney by contacting us online or calling 860-644-1548. 


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