Understanding Mandatory Arrests For Domestic Assault Crimes in New York

When an act of violence is committed between intimate partners, the action may be considered an act of domestic assault. While the New York state penal code does not include an exact definition for domestic violence some instances where an act of assault occurs between family members, dating partners, spouses, or other intimate partners can lead to the mandatory arrest of the alleged perpetrator. Here is a brief overview of how the mandatory arrest process works for certain instances of domestic assault, and what steps to take if you have been arrested.

What the Law Says

In New York state, there is no specific “domestic violence” crime. Instead, if an instance of assault has occurred against a family or household member, such as current or former spouses, current or former intimate partners, blood relatives, or in-laws, the police may make an arrest if they have reasonable cause to believe that such an offense has taken place. The term “assault” is defined as an act in which one person knowingly attempts to cause bodily harm to another person. When assault occurs within a family or between romantic partners, the crime will likely be classified as assault in the first, second, or third degree, depending on the nature and severity of the offense.

Mandatory Arrest

In instances of domestic assault, New York state, the police are obligated to make an arrest when a felony crime, such as assault in the first or second degree, has been committed. Even if the alleged victim asks the police not to make an arrest, law enforcement must proceed with the arrest. In cases where there is no order of protection and the offense in question is a misdemeanor offense, a mandatory arrest is not required. However, even if you find yourself in a situation where a mandatory arrest is not required by law, the police still have the ultimate authority to determine whether an arrest is the best course of action—even in cases involving misdemeanor offenses.

Protecting Your Future

Regardless of the specifics of your situation, facing an assault charge in New York carries significant consequences. There are several steps that lie ahead before your future is determined, so it is essential that you work with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. It is important to remember that you do not have to go through this challenging and stressful time on your own—your attorney will remain by your side, addressing your questions and concerns along the way. 


If you need trusted legal counsel regarding assault charges you are facing in the Queens or greater New York area, contact the Law Office of Adrienne D. Edward, P.C. at (347) 997-3811 today.