Notice of assistance to victim
At the time of arrest, a peace officer is required to tell a victim of domestic abuse whether a shelter or other services are available in the community and to provide the victim with notice of the legal rights and remedies available to the victim. The officer must give the victim a notice that includes the resource listing, including telephone number, for the area battered women’s shelter. The notice also must include a statement that:
- advises the victim that the victim can ask the city or county attorney to file a criminal complaint; and
- advises the victim of the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an OFP from domestic abuse.
Minn. Stat. § 629.341.
In situations where an officer does not make an arrest when the officer has probable cause to believe that a person is committing or has committed domestic abuse or violated an OFP, the officer shall provide immediate assistance to the victim, including:
- assisting the victim in obtaining necessary medical treatment; and
- advising the victim of the victim’s rights to request prosecution and to pursue an OFP.
A peace officer who acts in good faith and exercises due care in providing assistance to a victim is immune from civil liability that might otherwise result from the officer’s action. Minn. Stat. § 629.342.
Notice of bail hearings
When a court is scheduled to review a person arrested or detained for domestic assault or harassment for release from pretrial detention, the court must make a reasonable good faith effort to notify the victim of the time and place of the review and the fact that the victim and the victim’s family may attend the review. At the review, the prosecutor shall present relevant information involving the victim’s account of the alleged offense. Minn. Stat. § 629.72.
Notice of release from pretrial detention
Before releasing a person arrested or detained for domestic abuse, harassment, violation of an OFP, violation of a no-contact order, or a crime of violence or an attempted crime of violence, the custodial law enforcement agency must make a reasonable and good faith effort to orally inform the alleged victim, other involved law enforcement agencies, and, if requested by the victim, any battered women’s program, domestic abuse program, or sexual assault program, of the following matters:
- the time of the release
- any conditions imposed for the release
- the time and place of the next court appearance and the victim’s right to attend
- the location and telephone number of the area battered women’s shelter or sexual assault program, if appropriate
The law enforcement agency also is required to mail written notice of the above listed information to the alleged victim as soon as practical after the release. Minn. Stat. §§ 629.72 and 629.73.
Notice of intent not to prosecute
A prosecutor must make every reasonable effort to notify a victim of domestic abuse, a criminal sexual conduct offense, or harassment of a decision to decline prosecution of the case or to dismiss criminal charges filed against the defendant. The prosecutor also shall inform the victim of the method and benefits of seeking an OFP under the Domestic Abuse Act or a harassment restraining order and that the victim may seek an order without paying a fee. If a suspect is in custody, the notification attempt must be made before the suspect is released from custody. When criminal charges are dismissed, a record of the specific reasons for the dismissal must be made. If the dismissal is due to the unavailability of the prosecuting witness, the prosecutor shall indicate the specific reason that the witness is unavailable. Minn. Stat. § 611A.0315.
Victim input regarding pretrial diversion
Prosecutors must make every reasonable effort to notify and seek input from the victim before referring persons accused of domestic assault, terroristic threats, sexual assault, criminal stalking, and other designated serious crimes into a pretrial diversion program in lieu of prosecution. Minn. Stat. § 611A.031.
This and any related posts have been adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Domestic Abuse Laws in Minnesota – An Overview, written by legislative analyst Judith Zollar.
This post is also part of a series of posts on Domestic Abuse in Minnesota.