Being accused of committing a felony is a shocking and unnerving experience. You’ll be worried about what will happen to you and how it can affect your personal and professional life. However, being accused of a crime is not the same as being convicted of a crime. And sometimes the police make an arrest not because they are certain you committed a crime, but because the law requires them to make an arrest.
Mandatory arrest law
In alleged incidents of domestic violence, New York leaves police officers little room for discretion. It’s important to understand that the words ‘domestic violence’ are an umbrella-term used to describe many offenses committed against an intimate partner. Actual violence is not necessary to fall within this umbrella. When police are called to the scene of an incident where domestic violence is alleged, and the allegation would be a felony if true, New York compels the officers to make an arrest.
When this occurs, officers have to make a determination as to who was the primary aggressor. They will look for the existence of any injuries, whether the individuals have a history of domestic violence and if self-defense played any role in the allegation. If the officers develop reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed, they have no choice but to make the arrest.
The immediate investigation they conduct is often not as thorough as the investigation which will take place following the arrest. And reasonable cause is not sufficient to convict a person of a crime – conviction can occur only when evidence exists to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dealing with a domestic violence charge
Because of the ad hoc nature of mandatory arrest, it can easily be completely wrong. The allegations can turn out to be incorrect, in that a crime was never committed. Or police can reach an incorrect conclusion and arrest the wrong person. If you find yourself subjected to New York’s mandatory arrest law, you must seek legal counsel immediately, so that a complete investigation can be conducted and any errors made can be corrected.