Policies for domestic violence
Do mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence incidents protect victims? If not, should the policies be revisited? The early domestic violence policies in local police departments across the United States were pretty lenient. The standard procedure was that the offender would not be arrested unless the victim was willing to press charges and this was not often the case. The evolution of domestic violence policies and laws allowed the police department to take more positive action in addressing domestic violence incidents.
While the former image of the police was that they were brasher, the new police policies ensure that the policeman is not only responsive but also community oriented partner. The mandatory arrest for misdemeanor domestic violence offences now allows the police officers to arrest offenders even without the victim pressing charges. This is a very effective measure as it now gives the police more teeth and allows them to do something about the issue at hand. This also acts as a deterrent for those who are guilty of domestic violence offences.
As such, it is able to protect the victims of domestic violence incidents and has been shown to reduce the escalation of violence in households. Are the policies violative of the constitutional rights of offenders? It must be remembered that one of the main precepts of the justice system under the constitution is the presumption of innocence and the right against warrantless arrests. It has been recognized, however, that the mandatory arrest is not a violation of this constitutional right as it falls under the category of permissible warrantless arrests.
One example is the warrantless arrest when a police officer has personal knowledge that a person has committed, is committing or has just committed a crime. In cases of domestic violence, mandatory arrests are only made when there is reasonable ground to believe that the suspect is guilty of the crime committed. Furthermore, several jurisdictions recognize the effectiveness of such a policy because it forces mandatory cool down. The mandatory arrest does not do away with the presumption of innocence. Instead, it gives the parties time to cool down and work out their differences at another time.
As such, it cannot be considered that this is a violation of any of the rights of the arrested party, unless there has been a clear violation of the guidelines for mandatory arrest or if such has been exercised capriciously by a police officer. How are victims best served by the criminal justice system? While there has been debate on the effectiveness of mandatory arrest for domestic violence cases, it must be remembered that there is a greater good that this serves in the community. It not only acts as a deterrent for domestic violence cases but it also effectively prevents these domestic violence cases from further escalating.
The criminal justice system can only be placed into effect when a person has been charged in a proper court. Oftentimes in the past, this served as the only effective means of ceasing domestic violence. Under the mandatory arrest procedure, the person is prevented from doing other more damaging and injurious acts. This is more effective than having to wait for a hearing and a trial before an offender is prevented from committing more injurious acts to the victim.
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