Published January 19, 2018 by Rebecca Wade

Millions of people fall victim to domestic abuse in the U.S. each year. Domestic violence attorney Rebecca Wade discusses Virginia’s shall arrest statute on this week’s FAQ Friday.

What is the Shall Arrest statute?

“The law states that when the police are called to a residence and there is probable cause that an act of domestic violence has occurred, they shall arrest the primary physical aggressor,” Wade explains. This statute does not apply in other cases like DUI, larceny, or drug charges, as the police can choose whether or not to make an arrest.

“The shall arrest statute came out of the idea that you had situations where a truly abused person would call the police because they were in fear, being attacked and wanted help right then and there,” says Wade. “But when the police arrive, the victim would tell them that they didn’t want to press charges because of the nature of domestic violence and abuse.” This not only perpetuates the horrific cycle of abuse for the victim but also means the police must respond to domestic violence calls time and time again without making an arrest.

When to speak to an attorney

Wade represents those who have been victims of domestic abuse as well as individuals falsely accused of domestic violence. If you or your children have been a victim of domestic violence, Old Town Lawyers can help you obtain a Protection Order for your safety. Please contact us for a confidential consultation right away if you face issues of domestic violence.

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