Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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What is the Dominant Aggressor Law?

Domestic violence calls are one of the most difficult that law enforcement officers have to deal with. The high emotions and physical risks of such a call can often create a chaotic scene. Officers have to make quick decisions and sometimes the law makes that tough. Fortunately, for officers in Connecticut, changes in domestic violence laws have helped make it easier to help victims and ensure the decisions they make at a scene are the right ones.

Prior to the change in the law, Yale Daily News explains, officers on the scene of a domestic violence call would have a mandatory requirement to arrest someone. This often led to the arrests of both parties because of the nature of how one of these calls usually goes. Typically, both parties offer a complaint when the officers get on the scene, regardless of who called. They both assert the other has done something wrong. If the officers feel there is probable cause for each complaint, the law used to say they had to arrest them both.

Dual arrests didn't really help. In fact, they punished the victim and caused further harm to him or her.

The changes resulted in the Dominant Aggressor law. This law changes how officers approach a domestic violence scene. Instead of arresting based on complaints and probable cause for those complaints, the officers now look for the person who is the most serious threat in the situation. That is the person who is the dominant aggressor. That person is the one who goes to jail. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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