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New Haven Domestic Violence Arrest Process

In most domestic violence cases in New Haven, a person is arrested on-site, meaning the police respond to a complaint, arrive on the scene, arrest the person based on the evidence at the scene, and take them into custody at that time. In some cases, they will be arrested by warrant, which typically occurs after a prolonged investigation. Once the police department completes their investigation, the police officer will submit an arrest warrant, or a written report outlining the charges and evidence, to both a state’s attorney and a judge.

The state’s attorney and judge will review the arrest warrant and determine if probable cause exists. If they find probable cause, the arrest warrant is issued. Depending on the police department, the charges, and a number of other factors, the police department may contact the defendant in advance to offer them the admit to the crime, or they may just show up at the individual’s home or workplace.

For this reason, it is very important for the person to contact a New Haven domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that they are acting in their best interest and that they are aware of their rights. An experienced attorney will have a firm understanding of the domestic violence arrest process in New Haven, and can provide sound advice to an individual regarding the circumstances of their case.

Refraining from Speaking to Police

Any time a statement is given to the police, it can be used against the defendant.  Even minor admissions about facts that seem to be inaccurate can later be used to prove a case against an individual.

Typically, telling the truth and taking responsibility for what a person has done is the right thing to do. However, in a legal context, these admissions are used to prove a case that they otherwise would not be able to prove.  Therefore, it is very important that a person does not speak with the police until they have had the opportunity to discuss their options with an attorney and review the evidence the police claims to have against them.

Additionally, police officers and law enforcement are able to lie and manipulate the defendant. It is acceptable police practice for them to lie and give false information to elicit confessions, and unfortunately that often happens. For this reason, it is best for a person to provide no statement, ask to speak with a lawyer, and invoke the right to remain silent whenever arrested by a police officer.

Next Steps

Once a person has been taken into custody after a domestic violence arrest in New Haven, they will be processed at the New Haven police department. Their fingerprints and photos may be taken and the required administrative paperwork will be completed. At that time, “bail” will be set by the police department, which can range from a Promise to Appear (PTA), to a several million-dollar bail. The purpose of bail is simply to ensure a person returns to court for their court dates. The amount depends on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the charges, the person’s criminal record, and their ties to the local community.

In a case where a PTA is set, an individual simply signs a paper promising to come to court. In a situation where a dollar figure is set, they would need to “post” the bond in order to be released from custody. There are several ways to post a bond, the most common of which is either with a bail bonds man, who will charge a percentage of the bond as their fee, or the person posts the entire amount with the court.

If they are released from custody, either on a PTA or after posting bond, a person will be given a summons and, in all likelihood, a protective order from the police department. The summons will determine the court date and location. This information is extremely important because missing court is considered a separate crime, Failure to Appear, which carries its own serious penalties. A protective order limits the contact a person can have with a “protected person.”

There are a few different types of protective orders and, depending on the type, it can have the impact of removing a person from their own house, and, if they violate the protective order in any way, they will face an additional crime.

Differences from Other Arrests

An arrest for domestic violence is different from other arrests because there are certain programs, requirements, and aspects to cases which become available when it is classified as a domestic violence offense. In New Haven, there are dedicated domestic violence cases, and as a part of that, the prosecutors have particular training and handle exclusively domestic violence cases.

The docket that handles these cases has various intensive treatment programs and options to resolve the case in a favorable way. These are focused on domestic violence offenders rather than addressing some of the substance abuse and anger management issues underlying inter-family difficulties. Much of these dockets are geared towards how best to prevent this from happening in the future. There are a number of options available, which gives the potential for a favorable outcome in a case.

In addition, the prosecutor has specialized training focused solely on these types of cases and have a significant amount of resources to support prosecuting these cases. Therefore, it is not something that they take lightly and there are severe consequences associated with a crime classified as a domestic violence offense.

Hiring a Lawyer

It is very important that an individual has an attorney by their side from step one, to ensure that their case is handled properly from the very beginning. From the interactions with the police department, interactions with the bail bondsman, and at the arraignment to challenge the terms of their release, it needs to be handled properly from the very beginning. Things happen very quickly at court and if a person does not have an experienced New Haven domestic violence lawyer by their side, they may miss something.

The decisions a person makes early on can have great impact on the case down the road. Additionally, an attorney, who is involved from step one, can present the defense, track down witnesses, and hire investigators. It is important to start this work in the very beginning when the evidence is most available and the strongest defense possible can be established.