Domestic abuse accusations are taken very seriously by law enforcement. Sometimes, this makes them too quick to detain someone. Arrests are common during these types of calls, but this does not mean the arrest was lawful or necessary under the circumstances.
Understanding domestic violence arrests in Charleston allows you to fully comprehend your rights. With the assistance of an experienced family violence defense attorney, you may defend your case and protect your rights.
Is an Arrest Mandatory in a Family Violence Situation?
Although state law used to require an arrest for domestic situations where a physical injury was manifested, this is no longer the case. An officer may choose whether to detain someone based on the facts of the particular situation. Often, an arrest is made even if the situation does not call for it.
Law enforcement is required to follow certain steps, but sometimes fail to do so. A Charleston attorney could help someone further understand the details of their domestic abuse arrest and whether or not it was constitutional.
Requirements for Detaining Someone for Domestic Abuse
Officers must make many decisions to determine whether to detain someone. First, they must have probable cause to believe that a person committed an unlawful act. Probable cause exists if the law enforcement officer has a reasonable reason to believe that the person did commit an offense. To do this, they may consider:
- Whether someone may have inflicted physical harm to a household or family member
- Whether someone threatened or attempted to cause harm
- Whether someone had the present ability to create reasonable fear of imminent harm
If the alleged harm occurred against a spouse or former spouse, those with a child in common, or those living together, the charge may be appropriate for domestic violence. To learn more about what requirements an officer must follow during an arrest, talk to a Charleston family violence attorney now.
What Will Happen During a Charleston Arrest?
Most officers will also look to see if there is a current order of protection in place. If so, this will very likely result in the individual being detained and the possibility of increased charges by the prosecutor.
An officer is allowed to detain someone without a warrant in certain situations. If the officer had probable cause to believe the person committed the offense, the officer can make the arrest. This is true even if the officer did not see the event take place. Depending on the situation, an officer may even be allowed to search a home or other area without a warrant within constitutional limitations.
For more information about what an arrest for domestic violence looks like, talk to a Charleston attorney now.
Determining “Primary Aggressor”
Domestic violence cases are rarely clear-cut. Instead, both parties may blame the other and both suffer physical injury. Officers often must decide who is the “primary aggressor.” In doings so, they will consider the facts of the situation and may also consider other factors under South Carolina Code § 16-25-70:
- Previous complaints
- Severity of the injuries
- Likelihood of future injuries
- Whether one person acted in self-defense
- Witness accounts
These factors may help the officer determine who they will detain, if anyone, following a domestic abuse allegation. A skilled attorney could help someone in Charleston determine if the officer had grounds to arrest them for domestic abuse.
Get Representation for Charleston Domestic Violence Arrests
If you were incarcerated for family violence, you need competent representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. These charges can carry years in prison and very high fines. Many situations may be defended to reduce or dismiss the charges against you.
Domestic violence arrests in Charleston can complicate your life and harm your reputation. To fight back against these allegations, speak with our legal team right away.