What Makes an Arrest Legal in California?

An encounter with the police can make you nervous, especially if they arrest you. You may not know what to do or say, but knowing your rights and what a legal arrest entails is crucial. Legal advocates in Los Angeles explain that an arrest occurs when someone in authority restrains or seizes you in connection with a crime.

Three ways a law enforcement officer can legally arrest you are:

  • They personally observe you commit a crime
  • They have probable cause to believe you committed or you’re about to commit a crime
  • They obtain a valid warrant to arrest you

Upon your arrest on the grounds of having committed a crime, consult skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys immediately. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and advise if it was legal and how to protect your rights.

What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause is a requirement for arrest under the Fourth Amendment when police officers are making arrests. Courts often find probable cause when there are reasonable grounds for believing that a crime may have been committed to make an arrest. Probable cause is also a crucial factor in conducting a search. The police must believe that evidence is present in the place to be searched.

The standard of probable cause relies heavily on sufficient evidence to suspect you of a crime, not necessarily to convict you. Law enforcement officers can show probable cause through the following:

  • Observation such as sight, sound, and smell
  • Witnesses, informants, or victims
  • Police expertise, experience, training, and collective knowledge
  • Reasonable inferences based on available evidence
  • Circumstantial evidence that indirectly indicates a crime has happened

Once the standard is met, your criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can defend you by showing that the evidence is not enough to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Are the Two Types of Arrests?

Arrest laws categorize arrests into two types:

  • Actual arrest: The police accomplish actual arrest when they take you into custody using their hands or firearms. Actual seizures denote the use of force without touching you or merely touching you without using force.
  • Constructive arrests: Constructive seizure happens without any physical touching, holding, grabbing, or use of force. Such arrests are possible if you submit to the will and control of the arresting officers.

Police officers should uphold your rights when arresting you, even if they witnessed you committing a crime. If you believe your rights were violated during an arrest, talk to experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys to evaluate your options.

What Are My Rights During an Arrest?

The US Constitution has various provisions that protect your rights during an arrest. For example, the Miranda warning is enshrined in the law to uphold the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent as anything you say could be self-incriminating and could be used against you in court
  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to a court-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one
  • The right not to answer any more questions at any point during the interrogation

What If the Police Don’t Inform Me of My Rights During an Arrest?

If police officers question you in custody without giving a Miranda warning, it’ll be presumed that your confession or statement is involuntary. Your Los Angeles legal advocates can file a motion to suppress such involuntary statements and any other evidence discovered due to that statement.

However, there are situations in which a Miranda warning is not required. Unless you’re in police custody or will be interrogated about an alleged crime, the warning may not be necessary. For example, if a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence, they may administer sobriety tests without the Miranda warning as you’re not yet in custody.

What Should Happen During an Arrest?

When a police officer is arresting you for the commission of a felony, the arrest can happen at any time of day or night. However, an arrest for a misdemeanor or infraction cannot be made between 10:00 P.M. of any day and 6:00 A.M. of the next day unless:

· According to Section 836 or 837 of the California Penal Code Chapter 5, the arrest is made without a warrant.

  • The arrest is in a public place.
  • The arrest is made under a warrant that may be served at any time of the day or night
  • The arrest is made when you’re in custody under another lawful arrest

The arresting officers must inform you of the intention, cause, and authority of the arrest, except when they have reasonable cause to believe you engaged in committing or attempting to commit a crime.

What Should I Do During an Arrest in California?

While being arrested can surprise you, knowing what to do or not to do can make your case easier. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys recommend the following:

  • Cooperate with the arresting officers and don’t resist the arrest
  • Remain calm
  • Don’t answer any questions apart from providing your name, address, and identification if available
  • Don’t discuss details of the case over the phone, as phone calls may be recorded
  • Don’t talk to cellmates about the case
  • Remember, an arrest is not a conviction
  • Ask for an attorney

A Skilled Legal Advocate Helping You Understand the Arrest Laws in California

Being arrested for a crime can make you panic, and you may not immediately know what to do. The most important thing is to remember you have rights as an arrestee, and exercising them can go a long way to enhancing the outcome of your case. Consult skilled criminal defense lawyers in California immediately for legal guidance.

Knowledgeable lawyers at the Miranda Rights Law Firm are dedicated to helping clients get the best possible outcome for their cases. With over 10,000 cases handled for over 18 years, we have the experience to help you navigate the complex criminal system in California. Call us at 213-293-1207 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.