In California, it is legal to arrest someone, if a peace officer
– arrests someone on the basis of an arrest warrant
– he or she has probable cause to make the arrest.
A peace officer can legally detain someone in the following cases:
– The person consents to the detention;
– Specific facts known or apparent to the officer lead him or her to suspect that the person is or is about to be involved in a criminal activity;
– A reasonable officer who knew the same facts would have the same suspicion.
A reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity is needed to justify a detention. Any other arrest or detention is unlawful.
In order to decide whether the arrest or detention were lawful, it should be taken into consideration the officer’s training and experience as well as all the circumstances known by the officer when the person was arrested or detained.
Probable and reasonable causes of arrest exist if the facts known to the arresting officer at the time of the arrest would persuade any person of reasonable caution that the person to be arrested has committed a crime.
Moreover, an arrest for a misdemeanor or infraction without warrant is considered to be lawful, the officer is required to have probable cause to have belief that the person committed the unlawful act in his or her presence.
Some policemen consider that stopping people, questioning or searching a citizen is a well-done work if their suspicions confirm. Notwithstanding these allegations, such conduct is violation of constitutional rights.
In order to justify an investigative stop or detention, the officer must show specific and articulable facts made him suspect that:
– some activity relating to crime has taken place or is occurring or about to occur;
– the person he intends to stop or detain is involved in that activity.
It must be objectively reasonable for officer to do so: the facts must be such as would cause any reasonable police officer in a like position, taking into consideration his or her training and experience, to suspect the same criminal activity. The arrest or detention cannot be determined on mere curiosity, rumor, or hunch is unlawful, even though the officer could be acting in good faith.
Example: Steve refused to give information about whereabouts of his brother suspected in rape. He was placed in handcuffs at his home by the officer. After it, he agreed to reveal the information. But he was still kept in handcuffs in the back of police car till his brother appeared at the marked place and was caught by police. The police did not bring any charge against Steve and he claimed a lawsuit because arrest was unlawful. The arrest in the present case was illegal because Steve did not be involved in any illegal activity.
Moreover, the fact that an arrest is made does not justify an exploratory search for evidence of other crimes.
Example: if John arrested for voluntary manslaughter, he cannot be seizure for the possession of marijuana.
The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. If you have faced unlawful arrest or detention
in California, it is essential to contact an experienced California defense attorney who is will provide legal assistance. We handle every aspect of your case, from the very start through the very last court hearing. Do not hesitate to contact us!
You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000