Standard arrest procedures

Written by lee carroll
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Standard arrest procedures
Police officers follow specific procedures when making an arrest. (handcuffs image by William Berry from

Being arrested is not a situation anyone wants to be in. However, arrests happen every day, occasionally even to innocent parties. The police across the country have specific rules for arrest procedures. Those rules govern the behaviour of arresting officers, dictate what happens during an arrest and ensure that the arrestee is not denied any of his constitutional rights.


After observation of a crime or upon location of an accused criminal for whom the officer holds a warrant, the officer will confront the arrestee and simply announce, "You are under arrest." That is the beginning of the arrest procedure, as noted at the website, This announcement usually coincides with physical apprehension, frisking and handcuffing of the arrestee. These three things happen quickly, as the goal is to prevent the arrestee from escaping and possibly causing injury to the officer and himself.

Miranda Warning

From the landmark case, Miranda v. Arizona (1966), came a set of statements that an arresting officer must explain to a person upon arrest. These statements are for the protection of arrestee as well as the officer. The Miranda Warning includes the right to remain silent along with the warning that if he does speak, whatever he says will be used against him in court. He is then informed of his right to have an attorney present whenever he is questioned. If he cannot afford an attorney, the state will assign him one. These are modernised and shortened statements based on the original Miranda Warning, as shown at U.S. Constitution Online. The Miranda Warning protects the accused by ensuring he understands his constitutional rights and what will happen if he doesn't exercise them. Issuing the Miranda Warning protects the officer from being accused of violating the arrestee's rights by not following procedure, which could lead to dropping the charges. Only a few exceptions exist to being Mirandized, and they vary by state and by case.


A warrant is not always necessary to make an arrest. There are procedures that allow arresting without a warrant if there is probable cause. For example, if you drive with excessive speed and in an erratic manner, you may be pulled over by the police to determine whether you have been drinking. Although the officer does not have a warrant for your arrest, he can legally perform an arrest because he has reason to believe you are under the influence of alcohol. With a warrant, you must be released from custody if you are not taken before a magistrate within 24 hours. Without a warrant, you must be released if there is no complaint filed against you within 48 hours, as shown at Arizona Voice for Crime Victims.

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