What Constitutes a Legal Arrest in the US?
There is an arrest in the US every three seconds. The most common reasons are impaired driving, traffic offenses, petty theft, financial fraud or drug abuse. There were more than 7.63 million arrests for all offenses in 2020 alone. But the justice system has been repeatedly disapproved by Americans since they believe it is fundamentally rotten to the core. There are cases of overcriminalization with near-zero accountability for police.
For instance, natives of a liberal democracy can protest peacefully. The US Supreme Court only allows the government to stop demonstrations that present a danger. Yet forces have been used against the passive protestors, time and again, in the form of tear gas or canisters to disperse them. Also, none can be arrested and murdered as in the case of George Perry Floyd in 2020 where he was only ‘claimed’ to be awfully drunk and not in control of himself. He was wrongfully treated by the Minneapolis police which led to his death.
Responsible citizens now actively demand answers for unlawful invasions. This is especially vital for communities of color to avoid feeling confused and disoriented. Good knowledge of the local customs and legal system can help them stay better informed. Here’s a look.
What is Legal Arrest?
The estimated rate of arrest in the US in 2019 was 3,011 per 100,000 inhabitants. These are generally made with an arrest warrant that can deprive the suspected person of freedom of movement. A warrant is issued by the judge to take a perpetrator into custody. Reasonable belief of the police officer in the suspect’s guilt based on facts can be the foundation of the probable cause of arrest.
Exceptions to a Legal Arrest
A warrantless arrest can be legitimate in situations where the police believe that the person has either committed the crime or to prevent escape or preserve the evidence. Yet there are a few things that are ‘legally’ required for police to put on the handcuffs and conduct criminal proceedings in your name.
- The officer must have observed the crime personally. They will then have the right to arrest the individual right there.
- A strong suspicion that a crime is about to be committed or attempted without immediate evidence.
No one can be arrested if police approached in public and ask if the person will answer a few questions. For example, if a person is stopped on the road and asked if they saw the robbery that took place a few minutes back, no arrest is taking place here. They either choose to answer or leave in silence.
What To Do After a Legal Arrest?
Being arrested can be traumatizing. The key to getting through is to stay calm, protect your rights by refusing to discuss anything without a lawyer and follow other instructions of the police. Treat them with respect and hopefully expect the same. You can be booked and asked to cooperate for fingerprints, photographs and basic information. Check and sign on an inventory stating a list of belongings you had at the time of arrest and nothing more. As trials begin, charges against you can be dropped or changed after gathering more proof.
Once arrested, the arrestee is not free to move. Else it can involve the physical application of pressure and submission to the officer. Knowing these basics beforehand can help you save embarrassment and harassment. You can also come out of the criminal justice system in the form of ‘release’ without getting incriminated if you are truly innocent.
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