Domestic Violence and Being Arrested

At the Law Office of David P Schwarz we have defended many Orange County domestic violence cases where our client was subject to arrest. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached by email at

A domestic violence attorney will make sure that the arrest on suspicion of domestic violence by police is done legally. The traditional definition of arrest is “to deprive a person of his liberty by legal authority.” Arrest has also been labeled the “quintessential seizure of the person.” The Penal Code defines arrest as “taking a person into custody, in a case and in the manner authorized by law.” The components of an arrest are a taking of the suspect into custody; and actual restraint or submission to custody.

A domestic violence lawyer will defend against any accusation that an arrest has occurred. Since there are many levels of contact with the police and the possible arrestee there must be clarity in that contact. Arrest must be distinguished from other forms of encounters between police officers and citizens. Since Terry v. Ohio6 the law has become clouded by the recognition of variations of intrusions on an individual's liberty interest. Some encounters between a citizen and a police officer in a public place, such as general requests for information, are so informal and nonthreatening that they are not subject to constitutional scrutiny at all. The police may even use a ruse to prompt such an encounter. Other encounters, such as a brief period of investigation, constitute a temporary seizure of the person and are recognized as less substantial than an arrest. Finally, there are encounters that are so intrusive they constitute an arrest.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will defend against the arrest because the implications of the arrest will most definitely affect the police’s opportunity to do further investigation in their case against you. The inquiry as to whether a seizure constitutes an arrest is not an academic one; it is critical in a criminal case. It determines what type of justification the officer needed prior to the seizure. It also dictates what may be done with the suspect and the type of search, if any, that might be undertaken during and following the seizure.

A domestic violence attorney will attempt to clarify what is a detention and is permitted by the person and what is not allowed by the person stopped by the police. Encounters that begin as consensual may lead to detentions governed by the Fourth Amendment. For example, a police officer's interaction with a juvenile may begin as a consensual encounter, but as the officer's suspicions persist and the encounter becomes increasingly intrusive, the interaction becomes a formal detention. The question is whether a reasonable person, given all of the circumstances, would feel free to leave.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we are very experienced at defending domestic violence cases. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached by email at

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