An arrest warrant is a legal document that has been signed by a judge to authorize law enforcement officers to make an arrest. The warrant identifies the suspect and the reason for the arrest. It may also contain specific information about when the arrest may take place and it may state the amount of bail necessary to be released after having been arrested. A bench warrant is a type of warrant that has been issued because of a previous failure to appear in court. Often a bench warrant will specify that no bail be permitted due to the fact that the person has failed to show up in the past.

Can I Be Arrested Without a Warrant?

An arrest can be made without a warrant in some cases. This is called a warrantless arrest. A police officer can make a warrantless arrest if certain conditions are met such as:

  • If the crime was committed in the presence of a police officer
  • When the officer has probable cause to believe a felony was committed

A warrantless arrest is one that has been made without having had a judge issue a warrant. In order for a suspect to remain in custody the police will still need to have a judge issue the warrant, even if it is after the fact. In any case, there must be probable cause to make an arrest.

What is Use of Force in an Arrest?

Sometimes the police will need to enter the suspect’s home in order to make the arrest. Generally, the police must use what is called “knock and notice” before entering a residence. Police must announce their presence before they go into a home. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the police are chasing a suspect who has just committed a crime they are allowed to continue pursuit. Other exceptions include if the police have reason to believe someone in the home is in danger, if they have reasonable grounds that announcing their presence could put them in harm’s way, or if announcing their presence could allow the suspect to destroy evidence or escape. Police must use reasonable force based on the crime and the situation. A police officer can use deadly force only in situations where it is warranted. The area of deadly force is a controversial one.

The Arrest Report

Following every arrest, police officers are required to complete a report regarding the arrest. This is called an arrest report. The report outlines the arrest and includes the name of the person arrested, charges, bail, and location of arrest. The report also details the arrest and lists the suspect’s rights. It may also contain a list of booking items which were impounded upon arrest. If you have been arrested it is necessary to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Choose an attorney with experience in the area of law for which you were arrested. Getting your lawyer involved quickly will always give you a much better chance of resolving the situation favorably. An attorney may be able to have the charges against you lowered or your bail reduced. Talk to a lawyer before making any statements to the police.