The process of criminal justice often starts when a suspect is placed under arrest. An ‘arrest’ is defined as the act of taking a person into police custody, and no longer has the freedom to move about. When it comes to arresting suspects, physical restraint through handcuffs may not be necessary. An arrest can be made with a simple declaration from the police officer, informing the suspect that he or she is under arrest, and the suspect submits without restraint. They important elements in making an arrest are the police officer’s exercise of authority over an individual, and the individual’s submission – whether voluntary or involuntary.
Usually, a police officer arrests an individual under the following circumstances:
The police officer observes a crime personally
If the officer personally sees a crime being committed, then the individual committing it may be immediately arrested. As an example, a police officer sees a snatching incident take place. Hence, based on the laws surrounding theft and larceny, he or she can pursue the suspect and make the arrest.
The police officer has a ‘probable cause’ to arrest the individual
If the officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime might be committed, he or she will then conduct further investigation in order to turn the suspicion into a probable cause – in which there is a level of certainty that the crime likely happened. As an example, a police officer suspects a driver of drunk driving. The officer would ask the driver to pull over, and conduct a series of tests to confirm his suspicion. If the driver failed the field sobriety and breathalyzer test, then the officer now has probable cause that the law has been violated.
A warrant of arrest has been issued
If the officer is given a valid warrant to arrest an individual based on charges being pressed against him, then he or she could arrest the suspect lawfully. An arrest warrant is a document that:
- Identifies the crime committed by the suspect
- Names the individual suspected of committing such crime
- Provides information as to where the individual may be found
- Authorizes the police officer to make the arrest
At any point in a criminal case, police officers must respect all individuals’ constitutional and human rights – including the right to remain silent and the right not to be subject to unreasonable searches. If you find that your rights are being (or have been) violated during the arrest process, then the matter should be raised to the court in order to deem the arrest as unlawful. The arrestee may then be dismissed, or certain evidences can be withdrawn from the case.
If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney, The Kyle Law Firm is here to help you represent your case. Our lawyers are well-versed in state and federal laws that govern your circumstances, and are excellent in handling criminal cases. Contact us today so we can start working on our strategy.