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When can an officer place you under arrest?

The criminal justice system is complicated, and you may have many questions about what would happen if an officer placed you under arrest. You may immediately begin to think that you will face serious consequences, but you may want to remember that an officer taking you into custody does not mean that you face formal charges yet.

An arrest is one of the first steps of a potential criminal case. Of course, an officer cannot simply take you into custody for no reason. Certain procedures apply to this type of scenario, and if the officer fails to follow them correctly, any subsequent charges could be reduced or dismissed completely.

When could an officer arrest you?

Commonly, police officers could take you into custody under the following circumstances:

  • Personal observation: If a police officer personally sees you commit a crime, like exchanging a controlled substance on the street, he or she may arrest you due to personally observing an illegal drug exchange.
  • Probable cause: If an officer has a reasonable belief that you have committed a crime or are about to, he or she could arrest you. However, details and the circumstances of the situation must support this belief.
  • A warrant for arrest: If an officer has a warrant for your arrest, he or she has the ability to take you into custody. In order to obtain that warrant, a judge or magistrate must issue it after the officer has provided a sworn statement as to why the arrest is necessary.

Still, if an officer arrests you, you may not know whether he or she had probable cause or if the officer truly believes you committed a crime. As a result, you may feel that the arrest took place without true cause.

What can you do after an arrest?

If you believe that an officer took you into custody without a valid reason or violated any of your constitutional rights during the arrest, you may use any evidence that supports that belief as part of your criminal defense. If evidence does exist that the officer did not act within the law or did not follow proper protocol, the court may consider the arrest unlawful.

To gain more information on this possibility, you may want to consult with a Maryland attorney about the details of your arrest and any other aspects of the situation you find concerning.

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