If you or someone you love is part of a domestic violence arrest in Wellington, you probably have a lot of questions. An arrest for domestic violence can have long lasting consequences, which is why it is important to get a lawyer involved in the process as early as possible. To learn more about what to do following an arrest, get in touch with one of our defense Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert today.
Process of a Domestic Violence Arrest
In cases of domestic violence, a Police Officer does not need a warrant to make an arrest. Once on the scene, an Officer can make an arrest so long as they have probable cause to believe that the person being arrested has committed an act of domestic violence.
It is not up to the alleged victim to decide whether the Officer will make an arrest. Since domestic violence is treated as a criminal offense in Florida, once Officers are involved, it is up to them to decide whether an arrest should be made. Additionally, if the Officer chooses not to make an arrest, they are required to give the Court or their Superior a reasonable justification for that decision. The wishes of the alleged victim is generally not considered to be a reasonable justification for not making an arrest.
Requirements for a Domestic Violence Arrest to be Made
Due to the volatile nature of domestic disputes, Officers could typically arrest the defendant without a warrant. This is legal in Florida in domestic violence cases so long as certain requirements are met. For example, the Officer may be required to inform the person to be arrested that they have the authority to make an arrest and explain the reason for the arrest. One exception to this rule is where the person to be arrested attempts to flee or to resist arrest before an explanation can be given, as per Fla. Stat. §901.17.
The defendant may also be given a hearing in order for the court to make a ruling as to whether probable cause exists to charge the defendant within twenty-four hours of being arrested. It is wise to have an attorney present at this hearing if possible.
Is an Officer Allowed to Search Someone Upon Arrest?
When a person is lawfully arrested, whether with or without a warrant, the arresting Officer has the right to search the person as well as the area immediately within their reach. The Officer has a right to confiscate any evidence they find during the search. However, the primary purpose of the search should be to ensure the safety and security of everyone, including the Officers. The Officers would search for potential weapons as well as means of escape. However, the Officers may need either the consent of the parties or a search warrant to search outside the reach of the defendant, such as the entire residence.
Call an Attorney Following a Domestic Violence Arrest in Wellington
Once an arrest is made, a hearing should occur within 24 hours. If probable cause is found, the defendant may proceed to Trial to determine whether they are guilty of domestic violence. Since this is a criminal offense, the defendant would be entitled to a Trial by Jury. The victim would likely be required to testify at Trial, even if they do not wish to do so. If convicted, the defendant may spend time in jail and the offense would be listed on their permanent record. Domestic violence offenses can also affect your child custody rights as well as your ability to find a job. That is why it is so important to have a lawyer at Leifert & Leifert representing you if you are part of a domestic violence arrest in Wellington.