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Criminal Procedure for an Alleged Domestic Violence Case - Paper Example

4 pages
968 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Domestic violence refers to the occurrence of the one or more following offenses: stalking, harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorist threats, false imprisonment, burglary, lewdness, criminal restraint, criminal sexual contact, criminal trespass, assault, homicide and criminal mischief. Meaning of domestic violence means a person covered or protected by the domestic violence act. It also includes persons bearing the following characteristics: emancipated minor, who is of the age of 18 or older, subjected to the offense by; a spouse, former spouse, any person present like the member of a former household, with who the commonality of the victim and the offender is a child. However, it is noteworthy that the Domestic Violence Act does not define a domestic violence victim by physical or psychological condition or sex and age.

When a person makes a complaint to the police officers about a case of domestic violence, the officer should respond to the call. When the officer responds to the call, he/she must explain to the victim about the notice of rights of domestic violence which advises the victim of the available court action.

After that, a victim may file a criminal complaint that alleges the defendant to have committed a criminal act, a domestic violence complaint that alleges the defendant to have committed a domestic violence act. That will also include the assistance of the court to prevent its recurrence. That could be done by asking for a temporary restraining court order. The jurisdiction for filing a complaint of domestic violence by a victim is during hours of court or on holidays, weekends or others times when the court is not open. The victim may file a complaint with the police department or with the municipal court during normal court hours. On weekends and holidays, a victim may file a criminal complaint with the law enforcement agency. After that, a domestic or criminal violence complaint is signed, and a Witness/Victim Notification Form is completed by a person who assists the victim, either a court staff member or a police officer. The court must then, on short notice, contact the victim, informing him/her about the defendants; application of reduction of bail or release from custody.

When a person is arrested on allegations of domestic violence case, he/she will be held in jail without the issuance of bail until a magistrate or a judge sees him/her. The first appearance should occur within 24-48 hours after arrest is made. That is not to count holidays or weekends. If there are no charges filed, a person may be processed and released and accorded a caveat. In the case of court arraignment, the court will enter a plea from the person accused. In many cases, the accused enters a not guilty plea. Once the plea has been entered, the court will set future court dates.

Negative effects of mandatory arrest

Mandatory arrest refers to any local or state policy of police requiring a police officer to arrest in response to domestic violence report if there is a probability of a cause that violence has occurred. The practice of mandatory arrest was meant for a good course, but it is not quite effective and efficient. The reason for that is one is that mandatory arrests have been shown to have different effects in different cases (Renzetti, Edleson, & Bergen, 2011). More studies revealed that the arrests only slightly lowered the rates of a repeat of violence but was not always the best way to predict the repeat in offending cases. In that case, according to Roberts & Kurst-Swanger, (2002) offenders who had frequent cases of assaults and violence before were more likely to repeat their mistakes regardless of how the police reacted before.

Another negative effect of mandatory arrest is that they do not do a proper examination of all the cases of domestic violence. This is because many cases of assault and violence are not reported to the police. Another negative effect is that mandatory arrest has been shown to disempowering survivors of assault by infringing or robbing them their ability to decide on what is best for their situation (Buzawa & Buzawa, 2008). Scholars have further claimed that mandatory arrest policies can lead to the prevention of women from reporting the cases to the police for help because they could have a situation that does not seem to be suitable or appropriate with a mandatory arrest call. It is especially prevalence to the women of color because in many cases, women who have been battered arrests have risen (DeHart, 2008). The rise of the arrests of battered African-American women is linked to mandatory arrests. Arresting women reaching out for help from domestic violence can be dangerous to the chances of survivors to receive help. Therefore, research also finds out that no-drop policies are also expensive, does not contain an immediate protective effect (Raj & Silverman, 2002). It also has a negative opposite effect as intended, by discouraging women from making reports of future violence. Another major disadvantage of the mandatory arrest policy is that increases the risk of retaliation by the abusers.


Buzawa, E. S., & Buzawa, A. D. (2008). Courting domestic violence victims: A tale of two cities. Criminology & Public Policy, 7(4), 671-685.

DeHart, D. D. (2008). Pathways to prison: Impact of victimization in the lives of incarcerated women. Violence Against Women, 14(12), 1362-1381

Raj, A., & Silverman, J. (2002). Violence against immigrant women: The roles of culture, context, and legal immigrant status on intimate partner violence. Violence Against Women, 8(3), 367-398.

Renzetti, C. M., Edleson, J. L., & Bergen, R. K. (Eds.)(2011). Sourcebook on violence against women (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Roberts, A. R., & Kurst-Swanger, K. (2002). Police responses to battered women: Past, present, and future. In A. R. Roberts (Ed.), Handbook of domestic violence interventions: Policies, programs, and legal remedies (pp. 101-126). New York: Oxford University Press.

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