Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5293

Public Act No. 04-66

AN ACT CONCERNING DUAL ARRESTS IN FAMILY VIOLENCE CASES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46b-38b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) Whenever a peace officer determines upon speedy information that a family violence crime, [as defined in subdivision (3) of section 46b-38a,] except a family violence crime involving a dating relationship, has been committed within such officer's jurisdiction, such officer shall arrest the person or persons suspected of its commission and charge such person or persons with the appropriate crime. The decision to arrest and charge shall not (1) be dependent on the specific consent of the victim, (2) consider the relationship of the parties, or (3) be based solely on a request by the victim. Whenever a peace officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, such officer may seize any firearm at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. Not later than seven days after any such seizure, the law enforcement agency shall return such firearm in its original condition to the rightful owner thereof unless such person is ineligible to possess such firearm or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(b) No peace officer investigating an incident of family violence shall threaten, suggest or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention by any party. Where complaints are [received from] made by two or more opposing parties, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether [he] such officer should make an arrest or seek a warrant for an arrest. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, when a peace officer reasonably believes that a party in an incident of family violence has used force as a means of self defense, such officer is not required to arrest such party under this section.

(c) No peace officer shall be held liable in any civil action regarding personal injury or injury to property brought by any party to a family violence incident for an arrest based on probable cause.

(d) It shall be the responsibility of the peace officer at the scene of a family violence incident to provide immediate assistance to the victim. Such assistance shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Assisting the victim to obtain medical treatment if such treatment is required; (2) notifying the victim of the right to file an affidavit or warrant for arrest; and (3) informing the victim of services available and referring the victim to the Office of Victim Services. In cases where the officer has determined that no cause exists for an arrest, assistance shall include: (A) Assistance [included] as provided in subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of this subsection; and (B) remaining at the scene for a reasonable time until, in the reasonable judgment of the officer, the likelihood of further imminent violence has been eliminated.

(e) [On or before October 1, 1986, each] Each law enforcement agency shall develop, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, and implement specific operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents. Such guidelines shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Procedures for the conduct of a criminal investigation; (2) procedures for arrest and for victim assistance by peace officers; (3) education as to what constitutes speedy information in a family violence incident; (4) procedures with respect to the provision of services to victims; and (5) such other criteria or guidelines as may be applicable to carry out the purposes of sections 46b-1, as amended, 46b-15, as amended, 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive, and 54-1g. Such procedures shall be duly promulgated by [said] such law enforcement agency.

(f) The Police Officer Standards and Training Council, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, shall establish an education and training program for law enforcement officers, supervisors and state's attorneys on the handling of family violence incidents. [Such training] Training under such program shall: (1) Stress the enforcement of criminal law in family violence cases and the use of community resources, and include training for peace officers at both recruit and in-service levels; and (2) include, but not be limited to: (A) The nature, extent and causes of family violence; (B) legal rights of and remedies available to victims of family violence and persons accused of family violence; (C) services and facilities available to victims and batterers; (D) legal duties imposed on police officers to make arrests and to offer protection and assistance; and (E) techniques for handling incidents of family violence that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the safety of the victim.

Approved May 10, 2004