Do the Police Need a Warrant To Make an Arrest?

Many people assume or have been falsely told that the police have to obtain a warrant in order to arrest someone. This is not always the case. The police are able to make an arrest as long as they have probable cause. Probable cause is a standard used to determine reasonable grounds for the police to conduct a search, receive a warrant or make an arrest. This standard is used in order to prevent the idea of a 'police state' that many other countries suffer from. A police state involves significant authority of the police force wherein officers can arrest anyone without justification. The interpretation of probable cause has become more and more standardized over time, some characteristics include:

  • It is established through factual evidence
  • Can be established solely through observation
  • Can be established through a witness or a victim
  • Can be established through police expertise and knowledge
  • Can be established by circumstantial evidence

These regulations assure that arrests are not made off of a hunch or suspicion. As with many rules and regulations, there is an exception to this. Arrests can be made with probable cause if you are outside of your home. The situation is different if the police are planning to arrest you from your home. Generally, to make this type of arrest, law enforcement will need to obtain an arrest warrant. This is the case unless there are exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances can be:

  1. Law enforcement has chased the suspect into their home
  2. Law enforcement believes that someone in the home is in danger
  3. Law enforcement is let inside the home
  4. Law enforcement believes that the person could destroy evidence

If you are unsure if your arrest was conducted legally, contact our firm right away. We can investigate the details of your arrest and the case at hand and work towards your defense. Call The Claiborne Ferguson Law Firm, P.A. now for a free case evaluation. Our criminal lawyers in Memphis are well-versed with the laws regarding arrests and we can help defend you against any criminal charges.

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