Detention vs. Arrest

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Young man arrested by policeIt is important that one know the difference between arrest and detention, as they are quite different from one another.

A person can be detained when the police have a reasonable notion that a person needs to be held for a short period of time. Depending on the circumstances, the time-frame can vary a bit. The standard amount of time to detain someone is 20 minutes, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. An individual cannot be detained for any reason. The police must have strong suspicions that they were involved or are about to be involved in a crime.

Understanding Rights during Detention or Arrest

A detention can turn into an arrest rather quickly. Officers often make people feel that they do not have a right to say no to being searched, even when they do have that right. If an officer makes a search on an illegal basis during a detention, and then arrests the suspect, then these illegal searches and evidence can be suppressed in court. If you have been arrested and wrongfully searched, a criminal attorney can ensure your rights are protected. Once a person has been arrested, they can post bail through the use of a bail bondsmen. Both an attorney and bail bondsmen are key to getting through this difficult time.

Widespread Reasons for Detention

Typically, law enforcement can stop a person and detail them in a public place. They do not have to transfer them to another location. A person who is being detained must identify themselves, state their activity at the location, and answer any other questions the officer has. If an officer sees a man loitering or hanging around an area that is known for drug deals, the police have every right to detain this individual for further questioning. They can search for weapons and check for drugs with a “pat down”, if they has a suspicion that he is dangerous. An officer does not have a right to reach into pockets or bags at this point, but if they feel something that they believe could be a weapon, they can reach in to get it as a matter of protection.

During a detention, the officer can use a metal detector or drug dog to ensure the person is safe to release. They may also check for any outstanding warrants. After the detention, an officer has the right to arrest a suspect if they have sufficient grounds. This must be done so with minimal upset to the public’s tranquility. In a detention, the intrusion into one’s personal rights is minimal. Due to this fact, the police do not have to give the Miranda rights.

When Detention Leads to Arrest

For an arrest to take place, an officer needs to have probable cause. A person who is arrested is taken into custody. When an officer takes a person into custody, it means that they are being taken to the police station. Consequently, the courts also view an arrest as keeping a person for longer than a short period of time. An arrest can legally happen when an officer believes that there is a high probability that a person has or will be involved in a crime. The Miranda rights must be read to anyone who is being arrested. A person must know their rights to have an attorney and that the state will provide one if they cannot afford legal counsel.

The person being arrested will be asked for their name and address, but they do not have to answer any other questions without counsel being present. Law enforcement officials have more authorities during an arrest. They can search the individual and their surroundings due to the fact that the level of suspicion has risen. The police can search any area. For instance, if they make a traffic stop and see drug paraphernalia on the floor, they have a justifiable cause to search the car further. If a vehicle is thought to contain evidence to a crime, they can search the car thoroughly. Though they have the authority to conduct a search, even after an arrest the officer’s rights are limited. If a car is stopped along the freeway and drugs are found, this does not give the officer the right to go to the home and search too. A warrant must be obtained for those permissions.