Preferred Arrest and Prosecution Policies

Tampa Domestic Violence Attorney

The Law in Florida requires that the police and the state attorneys office to have a pro arrest and prosecution policy in domestic violence cases. Arrest is technically not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged when there is probable cause to do so. Recent changes to Florida state statutes involving domestic violence reflect this, and have resulted in changes regarding arrests and prosecution of those crimes. Section 741.2901 states that:

  • Each state attorney shall develop special units or assign prosecutors to specialize in the prosecution of domestic violence cases…These prosecutors…shall receive training in domestic violence issues
  • It is the intent of the Legislature that domestic violence be treated as a criminal act rather than a private matter…The state attorney in each circuit shall adopt a pro-prosecution policy for acts of domestic violence…

Nowadays, domestic violence includes social issues such as how a marriage, family and children are affected by the violence, and the emotional and psychological effects of those acts. It also now includes not only spouses, or ex-spouses, but a person you may be dating (or did date), the parent of a baby, or a close relative. Based on these arrest and prosecution policies, and the broader understanding of what domestic violence encompasses, it is more important than ever to hire the services of a tested Tampa domestic violence attorney.

Arresting the Primary Aggressor

Section 741.29 (b) of the Florida statute states that: "if two or more persons make complaints to the officer, the officer shall try to determine who the primary aggressor was. Arrest is the preferred response only with respect to the primary aggressor…"

In domestic violence disputes, law enforcement is not always able to objectively determine the veracity of the facts told to them by the parties directly involved, or from the statements of third parties. Also, because of the strong emphasis on the importance of arrest and protecting the victim, there may be a knowing or unknowing shift to utilizing a mandatory arrest policy instead of preferred arrest. Both follow the principle of guilty until proven innocent, which is why it is vital that you work with an attorney from The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger. We have over two decades of experience defending those accused of domestic violence.

Contact a Tampa domestic violence lawyer for a free initial consultation.

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