In June, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement can no longer arrest someone for a misdemeanor unless they have a warrant or actually saw the crime being committed. See State v. Clarke. For example, if the police receive a call about an intoxicated driver but are unable to locate the suspect, they cannot show up at his home and make an arrest unless they witnessed him driving or they have a warrant. The primary purpose of the ruling is to prevent police from abusing their powers when making arrests.
Some of the cases most impacted by this decision involve domestic violence, specifically misdemeanor domestic assault and battery. This ruling has created some frustration among law enforcement because it prevents them from separating the suspect and victim. Unless they saw the crime committed, the incident involved felony domestic violence, or they have a warrant, they cannot make an arrest. And even if police have evidence to support a warrant, acquiring one can take some time, especially on the weekend.
According to a recent article published by US News, with less arrests being made, domestic violence victims in Idaho are seeking civil protection orders for relief. See Misdemeanor Arrest Rules Make Things Tougher for Police. A civil protection order prevents one individual from contacting another for a certain period of time. This includes physical contact and indirect contact through a third person. Once a civil protection order is issued, a violation constitutes a misdemeanor and results in criminal prosecution. Requesting or fighting a civil protection order can be a complex process with several court hearings. To learn more about civil protection orders, visit No Contact Orders/Civil Protection Orders and The Nitty Gritty About Civil Protection Orders.
If you are serious about requesting or fighting a civil protection order, our office can help! Call us today for a free 30-minute consultation.