Changing Domestic Violence Laws
2014 was a big year in the MN legislature for a lot of reasons, including the significant achievements in the laws that are helping to end domestic violence.
‘Gone on Arrivals’ (GOAs) and Warrantless Arrests
Starting August 1, 2014, the time limit for police officers to make an arrest without a warrant (when there is probable cause in a domestic abuse offense) increased from 24 hours to 72 hours. It was always harder to prove an unwitnessed domestic incident (like in the cases of a GOA, when the offender has fled the scene before the police arrived), and the 24 hour window was often too short to find the suspect. Under the new law, the window has been extended, and the clock doesn’t start until midnight (0000 hours) on the day the probable cause was established.
Imagine officers are called to the scene of domestic assault at 2100 hours (9:00pm) on a Tuesday. The suspect is gone when the police arrive. Based on the officer’s investigation, at 2130 (9:30pm) the same night, probable cause is established to believe that the suspect committed non-felony domestic abuse.
Police have exactly 24 hours–until 9:30pm Wednesday night–to find and arrest the suspect. If the window expires without apprehending the suspect, police have to decide whether the case merits opening an investigation, obtaining a warrant, and continuing the search.
Police have 72 hours from midnight to find and arrest the suspect – until midnight on Friday! If the window expires without apprehending the suspect, police have to decide whether the case merits opening an investigation, obtaining a warrant, and continuing the search.
Landlord-Tenant Law and Victims of Stalking and Sexual Assault
This year’s amendment to the law that governs landlord-tenant rights allows for the protections previously reserved for victims of domestic abuse to extend to victims of sexual assault and stalking.
- The new law recognizes the danger faced by these groups, and allows them to break their lease without having to pay an additional month’s rent. (They will still forfeit their security deposit.)
- The new law prohibits landlords from evicting a victim of domestic violence based on that crime.
- Under the new law, survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking will no longer need to have obtained a protective order to break their lease. The new law will allow “qualified third parties,” including advocates, to certify that the lease needs to be broken.