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Tacoma Municipal Code 8.105.030: Mandatory Arrest Policy

Image description TMC 8.105.030 is primarily concerned with enforcing a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence incidents. The main provisions of this section are as follows:

  1. When responding to a domestic violence call, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred, the officer must arrest the suspect.
  2. The arrest is mandatory regardless of whether the victim desires prosecution or not.
  3. The suspect must be held in custody until the court determines the conditions of their release.
Significance to a Person Accused of Domestic Violence

TMC 8.105.030 has several implications for a person accused of domestic violence in Tacoma, which can be both positive and negative.

  1. Protection of Victims: The mandatory arrest policy aims to protect victims from further harm by removing the accused from the immediate situation. This provision ensures that the accused individual cannot exert influence over the victim in the aftermath of the incident.
  2. Victim's Desire for Prosecution: The mandatory arrest policy does not rely on the victim's desire for prosecution. It is common for victims of domestic violence to recant their allegations or refuse to cooperate with the prosecution, often due to fear of retaliation or emotional attachment to the perpetrator. TMC 8.105.030 ensures that the investigation proceeds regardless of the victim's wishes, which can help hold the accused accountable for their actions.
  3. Probable Cause: The mandatory arrest policy requires that a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe a crime has occurred. This standard helps protect the accused from arbitrary or baseless arrests by ensuring that there is sufficient evidence to support the accusation.
  4. Detainment and Court Proceedings: An individual accused of domestic violence under TMC 8.105.030 will be held in custody until the court determines the conditions of their release. This can be a significant hardship for the accused, as they may lose their job, face financial difficulties, or suffer damage to their reputation during this period.
  5. Due Process and Legal Representation: As with any criminal accusation, a person accused of domestic violence is entitled to due process under the law. This includes the right to legal representation, the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses, and the right to a fair and impartial trial. However, the mandatory arrest policy can create a perception of guilt before any formal legal proceedings have taken place, which can negatively impact the accused's ability to mount an effective defense.
  6. Potential Consequences: If found guilty of domestic violence, the accused may face a range of penalties, including fines, probation, restraining orders, loss of child custody or visitation rights, mandatory counseling, and even imprisonment. These consequences can have long-lasting effects on the individual's personal and professional life.

In conclusion, Tacoma Municipal Code 8.105.030 is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to protect victims of domestic violence and hold offenders accountable for their actions. While the mandatory arrest policy has its benefits, it also carries significant implications for those accused of domestic violence. It is essential for individuals facing these accusations to understand their rights and seek competent legal representation to navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding domestic violence cases.

In December, 2022 Tacoma Municipal Code was updated to mirror the State's mandatory arrest law RCW 10.99.

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