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When am I Detained and When am I Arrested?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Criminal Defense

When you are interacting with a law enforcement officer in Southwest Florida and you are not inside a police station or precinct, you can still be considered to be under arrest. Or, if the officer does not have probable cause to place you under arrest, there’s a good chance you are actually being detained. It’s common to be confused over whether or not you, during the course of interacting with a police officer, are being detained or under arrest. This blog will give you a general understanding of the conditions that must be met for either detention or arrest in Florida.

Are You Being Detained?

In many cases, a detention of someone is a precursor to the arrest. Being detained means that you are not free to leave while a police officer investigates whether or not you have committed or are currently committing a crime. To be able to detain someone, a police officer need only have reasonable suspicion that the individual may be involved in a crime.

Regardless of whether you are being detained or arrested, you have the obligation to identify yourself if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of having committed a crime. During your detention, the officer will likely ask you questions in an attempt to gain probable cause to place you under arrest. You may ask, at any point during your interaction with the officer, whether or not you are being detained (or free to leave). A common example of a  detention made by police officers is a routine traffic stop.

Are You Under Arrest?

If a police officer finds probable cause to arrest you during your detention (through cursory investigative means), then you will be arrested. To correct a common misconception, you are not automatically under arrest just because you have been restrained by handcuffs. Conversely, you can be considered under arrest without being handcuffed.

When the police significantly deprive someone of their freedom of movement in order to question them about an alleged crime, then that person is generally considered to be under arrest. The police usually identify themselves as law enforcement officers and recite a suspect’s Miranda Rights when an arrest has been made, as well as informing the suspect of the crime he or she is suspected of committing.

What Should You Do During Your Detention or Arrest?

Besides the obligation to identify yourself if you are suspected of having committed a crime or traffic violation, you can–and should–remain silent, except to inform police that you wish to have an attorney during any questioning. At any point, you may ask whether or not you are free to leave. If you are placed under arrest, you have the right to know the reason.

Being arrested when you know you didn’t do anything wrong is frustrating and maddening, but it is not in your best interests to resist arrest. The best thing you can do is remain silent and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you are able. Even if the police did find strong evidence that you committed a crime, an effective and knowledgeable firm like Titan Law can identify any procedural missteps that could result in evidence being ruled inadmissible in court.

We are 100 percent dedicated to defending the rights of anyone who is facing criminal charges and doing everything possible to provide you with the best possible defense. To get us on your side, call us today at Call.