Term of the Day

Vehicular Homicide

Vehicular homicide is a type of murder that specifically involves a vehicle being used as the murder weapon.

Arrest

Definition - What does Arrest mean?

The arrest is the very first step of prosecution. An arrest usually takes place after a police officer witnesses a crime, but can also happen if the officer has probable cause, or an arrest warrant that has been issued from a judge.

What does it mean to be arrested?

A police officer must swear by the existence of probably cause in a situation to allow for an arrest. An arrest is made with the intention of bringing the person to trial, and in the meantime, their right to freedom or “liberty” is temporarily revoked. There is no definitive line between being free and being arrested. However, when you are in court if it seems as if a “reasonable person” would have thought they were not free to leave, then you are considered under arrest. One thing most people do not know about being put under arrest is that an officer does not have to put handcuffs or place the person into their service vehicle to put them under arrest. In most cases, the officer will arrest a person to make the situation safer for them.

Any United States citizen can also make a citizen’s arrest, however if not done properly and/or under the wrong circumstances, the person who makes the arrest can be sued.

What rights does the person still have after an arrest?

Depending on which country you live in, your rights after being arrested can vary. However, in the United States the police are required to immediately read you your fifth and sixth amendment rights, also known as your “Miranda rights” right after being arrested. This means that no questioning can take place after an arrest until these rights are read aloud. This verbal warning must tell the person under arrest that they have the right to not say anything, the right to having an attorney present during any and all questioning. They must be informed that if they say anything, it can and most likely will be used against them in court. Finally, they must also be told that if they cannot afford an attorney, one will represent them free of charge. The right to remain silent while under arrest is an important one because it means that you do not have to speak if you do not wish until an attorney is present. It is always a good idea to remain silent after being arrested, even if you are certain you are not guilty.

What if I am not read my rights?

If the person that was arrested is not read their rights properly, the information that was received during any form of interrogation may be dismissed in court, however any evidence after that point can be used against them. This is a very rare occurrence, at least in the United States, due to the fact that many police officers will carry around a written version of the Miranda rights so that they can say it exactly, word for word after arresting someone. This gives them solid grounds in court and makes in undeniably true that the person being arrested understood his or her rights.

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