Idaho Supreme Court’s misdemeanor ruling nets reaction from law enforcement, advocacy groups

The Idaho Supreme Court says law enforcement officers can’t arrest someone for a misdemeanor unless they have a warrant or actually saw the crime being committed.

The unanimous ruling made Wednesday has advocacy organizations scrambling, because it likely means police will have to dramatically change how they respond to domestic violence calls.

The ruling came in a drug conviction case, but the high court noted the Idaho Constitution’s provision against unlawful search and seizure doesn’t allow warrantless arrests without probable cause.

That means no misdemeanor arrests unless the officer saw the crime.

Officers responding to domestic violence calls often arrest the person they suspect of committing the violence on a misdemeanor charge as a way of separating those involved and defusing the situation.

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