The police can’t just arrest a person because they feel like causing trouble for them. They must have a valid reason to conduct the arrest or it could be considered an unlawful arrest. It’s imperative that all citizens know the reasons why a police officer can arrest them.
There are three scenarios that can lead to an arrest. These include:
- You have a warrant for your arrest. This must be signed by a judge or magistrate and must contain specific information, including your identity.
- The police officer has probable cause. This means that the facts and circumstances would lead a reasonable person to believe that you committed a crime. For example, if a big screen television is stolen from a store and you’re found loading one into your vehicle and can’t produce a receipt for it, the officer would have probable cause.
- The police officer sees you commit a crime. This is often what happens in drunk driving cases because the officer sees the person driving erratically and then conducts a traffic stop to gather more information.
There are times when an officer won’t have what’s necessary for an arrest. If they choose to take you to jail anyway, you may have a claim for an unlawful arrest. This might be part of your defense strategy so you should discuss the matter with your attorney.
When you think about your defense, you should review all the options you have with your attorney. Your defense must be based on facts, but there may be different ways to present the information that serves you better than others.