Mandatory Arrest and Charging Conference

Domestic Violence does not happen because the victim does something wrong – it happens because the offender chooses to violate another by asserting power and control when he/she has no moral, ethical, or legal right to do so.

What is Mandatory Arrest?

Wisconsin’s 1988 Mandatory Arrest Act 346 states that if an officer has a reasonable basis to believe that Domestic Violence has occurred or will continue to occur, they MUST arrest the aggressor.

Mandatory arrest is a policy intended to protect victims of Domestic Violence and hold batterers accountable for their actions. An abuser may be arrested even if the victim does not want him/her prosecuted.

What is a Charging Conference?

In Washington County every Domestic Violence related arrest results in a charging conference at the District Attorney’s Office (DA’s Office). At the time of the arrest, the officer will tell the victim when the charging conference will take place.

A charging conference is a meeting between a victim of Domestic Violence and the Victim/Witness Specialist in the DA’s Office. At the conference, the victim may ask questions about the criminal process and safety planning, and the Victim Witness Specialist will explain the charging options the assigned DA has in filing criminal charges.

As available a Legal Advocate from FRIENDS, Inc. will be present at the charging conference to provide resources, support, and injunction services.