A magistrate will approve the request for an arrest warrant against you when a police officer demonstrates that there’s probable cause to believe you attempted to commit or have committed a crime. However, the police often arrest people without a warrant as it is not always needed. Keep in mind that before they do this, some conditions must be met.
If the police have no legal grounds to arrest you and still do, there can be substantial implications to your criminal case.
Situations Where Police Make a Warrantless Arrest
If a police officer has probable cause to trust that you’ve committed an offense, they may make a warrantless arrest. They will also make a warrantless arrest when someone commits a crime in their presence.
According to Tennessee law, a police officer may make a warrantless arrest on the following grounds:
- An offense committed in the presence of a police officer
- The offense is a felony
- A felony is committed, and the officer has probable cause to believe the person arrested is responsible
- An individual facing arrest attempted suicide
- An individual was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in death or bodily injury, and the officer has probable cause to believe the individual committed a motor vehicle crime. If the accident did not result in death or bodily injury and the officer has reason to believe that the individual has committed a DUI, they may make an arrest
- The individual has committed domestic abuse
- The officer has reason to believe that the individual has committed stalking
- The officer has reason to believe that the individual violated one or multiple conditions of bail
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides requirements for law enforcement officials to demonstrate probable cause before they make an arrest. When a warrantless arrest is conducted without probable cause, it becomes a violation of an individual’s rights.
If you’re a victim of such actions, you or your criminal defense attorney could bring that up as grounds to suppress evidence. Any evidence obtained against you can be deemed inadmissible since it’s unlawfully acquired if your rights were violated.
Is an Arrest Inevitable?
An officer doesn’t have to make a warrantless arrest if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that an individual witnessed a crime being committed or committed the crime. If you’re accused of a minor misdemeanor, the officer might issue a citation rather than an arrest.
If you’re suspected of a DUI, the officer will not give a citation in place of an arrest. The officer will provide you with a written ticket if they issue you with a citation in place of an arrest. The ticket will hold your personal info, the date and time of your court appearance, and the alleged offense.
In certain situations, even though an officer can issue a citation, they will arrest you for a misdemeanor when:
- The officer has reason to believe the person won’t show up in court
- The prosecution for the offense may be threatened if the person isn’t in police custody
- The arrested individual requires medical help
- The offense will continue with the person’s release
- The individual facing arrest can’t or refuses to provide identification
- The individual requests to appear before a magistrate
- The individual refuses to sign the citation
- The individual is intoxicated and may be a danger to others or themselves
- The individual has other arrest warrants in their name
If an officer provides you with a citation in place of an arrest, you must sign the ticket to confirm receipt. If you don’t appear after being cited, a Class A misdemeanor charge and an arrest warrant can be issued in your name.
If you have been charged or accused of a crime it is best to contact a Knoxville criminal defense attorney in Tennessee to make sure that your rights are protected. We work for YOU and YOUR RIGHTS!