Page 29 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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24
OVERVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS
FOR FAMILY VIOLENCE CASES
Arrest:
In most circumstances, if the police believe it is likely that a family
violence crime has been committed, then they must arrest the person who
allegedly committed the crime.
Booking:
After the arrest, the person who has been arrested (the defendant)
may be brought to the police station for processing
or
may be given a
summons which tells him what crime he is charged with and when to go to
court.
Release:
If the defendant is "booked" at the police station, the conditions of his
release are set by the police and may be reviewed by the bail commissioner. A
defendant may be released on bail
or
a promise to appear (PTA)
or
held in jail.
A defendant must come to court for a hearing the next day the court is in
session.
COURT
ARRAIGNMENT
(first court date)
Victims are referred to a
Family Violence Victim
Advocate.
Family Services Counselors
review and investigate the
case.
The judge decides:
o
whether there was probable
cause for the arrest (if the
defendant is still being held
in jail);
o
whether to raise or lower a
bond if one was set by the
police or bail commissioner;
o
whether a protective order
should be issued;
o
whether other conditions of
release will be placed on the
defendant;
o
when the next court date or
"continuance" will be.
What can victims do during
this time?
You can be present at the
arraignment, you can inform
the court about your need for
protection, and you can request
a protective order. A Family
Violence Victim Advocate is
available to provide information
and assistance to you about
the court process and other
options that might be available
to you, even if you are planning
to stay with your partner. You
can also get information,
shelter, and support from the
local domestic violence shelter
program.