Legal Awareness: Valid Warrantless Arrests

As a general rule, an arrest by the police should be supported by a warrant. This is not an absolute rule. For your vital legal awareness, here is a list of valid warrantless arrests.

The constitutional protection of the person against arbitrary arrests is guaranteed by the general rule that the police should first secure an arrest warrant. However, there can be cases of valid arrests without a warrant of arrest. To be valid, the minimal requirement is “probable cause.” There must be a reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances to believe that the person to be arrested is guilty.

Legal Awareness: Valid Warrantless Arrest No. 1: A police officer or a private person may, without a warrant arrest a person when in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or attempting to commit a crime.

The most common application of this is the “in flagrante delicto” rule in “buy-bust” operations. “In flagrante delicto” basically means getting caught in the act of committing a crime. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment usually conducted to enforce drug laws. It is a form of entrapment where the police officer poses as a buyer. He however, neither instigates nor induces the accused to commit the crime, because in this case, the seller/drug dealer has already decided for himself to commit a crime.

Legal Awareness: Valid Warrantless Arrest No. 2: A police officer or a private citizen may, without a warrant arrest a person when an offense has in fact been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it.

It is not enough that there is “reasonable” ground to believe that the individual to be arrested has committed a crime. A crime must in fact have been committed first. The arresting officer must have “personal” knowledge of the commission of the crime, and not merely on hearsay (e.g. Relying on the testimony or allegations of others). The offense, therefore, must have been committed in his presence or within his view and sensory perception.

Legal Awareness: Valid Warrantless Arrest No. 3: A police officer or a private person may, without a warrant arrest a person when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

A prisoner or convict who flees prevents the government from serving justice and endangers society in the process. Accordingly, a fugitive may be arrested by anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.

Legal Awareness: Valid Warrantless Arrest No. 4: Consented warrantless arrest

A person may waive his right not to be arrested without an arrest warrant. But the legal presumption is always against the waiver of basic constitutional rights. The waiver cannot be inferred from the mere fact of having failed to object to a warrantless arrest. The waiver must be explicit or articulated.

May this legal awareness 101 help you in the future.

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Ramz
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deepblue
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Posted on Sep 14, 2010