When do the Police Need a Warrant to Make an Arrest?

If the police believe that there is a good reason or probable cause that a crime was committed, they can move ahead with the arrest with no need to obtain an arrest warrant from a judge. An important exception to this rule is when the police are looking to arrest someone at home. In this case, an arrest warrant is definitely needed.

If you are arrested, should you give a statement to the police?

It may happen that you are walking around your neighborhood while the police are nearby investigating a robbery or another crime. As you get into their line of vision, they may ask you to explain what you are doing in that location and you may be tempted to quickly give an answer and clear things up so you can continue on your way. However, you should think twice about this course of action since, without meaning to, you might end up incriminating yourself. It’s better to just refuse to answer any questions unless they show you an arrest warrant.

Keep in mind that you do have a right to remain silent and that whatever you say can and will be used against you. Seek legal advice as soon as possible.

What is an arrest warrant and when is it issued?

The legal order that gives authority to the police to take a person into custody is known as an arrest warrant. For a judge to issue one, the police officers asking for it need to have a reason to believe that this individual has committed an illegal act.

To obtain the warrant, the officer in question must make a sworn statement in front of the judge. In it, the reasons for the need for an arrest warrant are spelled out. These reasons could be based on what the officer has observed or because they have received testimony from a witness to the crime. If the testimony is not believable, it is likely that the judge will dismiss it and not issue the warrant.

In other cases, bench warrants are issued for the purpose of arresting people who have failed to pay their court fines or for those that have missed their court dates.

Is it necessary for the police to have a warrant in order to arrest you?

There are some occasions when police officers can arrest you without a warrant. Some examples of this are:

  • When the crime has just been committed.
  • When the officer is a personal witness to the crime and it happened within the officer’s jurisdiction.
  • When the officer has probable cause to believe that an individual has committed the crime, even if the incident took place when the police were not present.

Getting arrested whether the police believe you have committed a crime or because a warrant was issued can fill you with worry and doubts about your future. The number of questions or concerns in your mind may be enough to prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Lawyer Stroleny recommends getting your questions answered by a knowledgeable attorney who can also design a defense strategy that will protect your rights. A criminal defense attorney will help you navigate this scary and confusing situation.


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