What Qualifies as An Arrest?
Understanding whether or not a police officer has placed you under arrest is critically important for identifying your rights. Anyone accused of a crime still maintains basic rights that cannot be violated by an officer, even when that officer suspects that that person is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony.
Understanding what differentiates an arrest from a stop or detainment is critically important if you need to move forward with a criminal defense case. An arrest occurs when a police officer officially takes someone into custody. That arrest becomes complete when the suspect can no longer walk away from the arresting police officer. This moment typically occurs well before the suspect arrives at jail.
The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution enables law enforcement officers to make an arrest only if they have probable cause to believe that a crime occurred and that the suspect did it. This probable cause mandate minimizes the police power to deprive people of their freedom. Courts and legislatures have identified that the 4th Amendment leaves off at a particular point in time, and develops clear rules about when and how people can be arrested. An arrest requires that an officer takes a person into custody against that person’s will. The purpose of such an arrest is to interrogate or to prosecute. It often involves applying force physically or the person submitting to an officer’s show of force. The most important aspect of whether or not this qualifies as an arrest is the fact that the arrestee is not free to leave.
When determining whether or not someone has indeed been arrested, courts will apply a standard known as reasonable man, such as whether or not a reasonable person in the same situation would have concluded that he or she was not free to leave at the time. If you have questions about your arrest, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. This could prove critical in your defense strategy.
If you’ve already been arrested for a crime, get help from a lawyer who cares from the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty. Call 609-390-4600 today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.