The police officer should identify the primary physical aggressor (PPA) first before arresting one of the parties in a mutual battery case. However, there are situations when law enforcers find it difficult to identify which party is the PPA. This results to dual arrest. (Source: National Institute of Justice)
What is Dual Arrest?
Dual arrest happens when the assessment reveals that there was “separate, distinct battery” carried out by both parties against each other. The possibility of dual arrest also occurs when the arrest of both parties is justified with a warrant. (Source: NVPAC)
How is Dual Arrest Treated in Nevada?
Nevada is one of the states in the US that has mandatory arrest law. As per NRS 171.137, a domestic battery and protection order violation mandatory arrest is necessary when there is “probable cause” for the law enforcer to believe that the battery was committed within the previous 24 hours. (Source: NVPAC) They can decide to arrest both parties involved and then let the court determine who the guilty party was. (Source: National Institute of Justice) It is also possible that neither of the parties will be prosecuted.
Dual arrest is still discouraged even if it is not forbidden by law.
Why is dual arrest discouraged?
Dual arrest is discouraged because it can:
- Break the clean criminal record of the alleged victim
- Refute the victim’s eligibility for victims of crime compensation
- Prevent the prosecutors and advocates from speaking with either party due to the 5th Amendment restrictions
Aside from these, dual arrest is discouraged becayse the true victim may not report future domestic violence incidents as dual arrest may terrify her/him. Some law enforcers might also turn to dual arrest so they can easily get through the battery incident.
What should be done before an actual dual arrest?
Before proceeding to a dual arrest, the law enforcer should:
- Verify that two distinct batteries took place (separated by time and space)
- Make individual cases and reports for every arrest
- Take the evidence limitations into an account as the 5th amendment restrictions may prevent either party to be considered as a witness.
- Consult the supervisor before doing any actual dual arrest
Dual arrest can affect the lives of both parties involved in the domestic violence incident. Therefore, law enforcers should be strongly aware of these things before deciding for a dual arrest.