Legal Requirements for a Proper Arrest and Law of Arrest

Subject: Law
Pages: 9
Words: 2213
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College


In many different parts of the world, any given enforcement officer of the law like the policemen, the sheriffs, the assistant sheriffs, highways patrol officers and even state troopers have the lawful duty of making an arrest whenever the requirements state so (Johnson, 2009). This is something that will be done in accordance to the law. In many cases, arrests will be made when there is an arrest warrant that has been issued. However, there are a number of other circumstances through which an arrest can be made without a warrant. Contrary, as it has been dramatized in a number of TV shows and movies, it is not necessarily that any law enforcement official will be required to use physical harassment or use of handcuffs whenever making an arrest. Occasionally, the police officer may simply decide to instruct a suspect that he or she is under arrest, and once the suspect submits himself or herself to the police, then arrest process will be complete without any form of physical assault or use of handcuffs. What this means is that the major reason for an arrest is just to take the person into custody and make him not free to leave or stay together with other people (Johnson, 2009). Therefore, in this research paper we will look keenly at some of the key issues in police operations and conduct for proper arrest. Basically, the paper will dwell most on the major legal requirements for executing a proper arrest in accordance with the law and other similar legal issues about the law of arrest.

Background Information

There are a number of vital things that have to be understood when it comes to arresting an individual following the legal process. The law has been known to recognize any privilege of a law enforcement officer to employ his or her powers in the dutiful prevention of crime, in effecting an arrest in a lawful manner, and at the same time ensure that an individual who is under custody does not escape (Cole & Christopher, 2006).). Under some circumstances where, for example, without enough justification for this privilege, the individual carrying out the arrest might end up being charged in a court of law for assault and even for committing homicide. The categories of justifications, just like with all other jurisdictions, will tend to arise in a number of cases in which the law will accept that some harm has been done by the person who is involved in the arrest. Over the years, this scanty availability in terms of the defenses arising from law enforcement has revolved around a number of questions: one, should the person carrying out the arrest use force, does that force harm the suspect, and can an arrest be done on a non-suspect? What this means is that these considerations will be important whenever analyzing the justifications in the actions that are taken during the pursuance of criminal justice and enforcement of the law.

The criminal process and justice process will begin immediately when an officer has placed an individual under arrest (Cole & Christopher, 2006). The act of arrest will occur the very moment when that given individual has been arrested and taken into custody, thus making him or her not free to move here and there. In many countries, the law requires that the use of physical force and shackles or handcuffs is not a necessity. An act of arrest will as well be complete once an officer has uttered to a suspect that he or she has been put under arrest. Once that has been done, it would be the duty for the suspect to submissively give himself or herself to the police, and hence not a single physical assault or handcuffs has to be involved in such a situation.

The process of arresting an individual has been done over the years in a way of exercising the authority given to the police over an individual, and that suspect should involuntary or voluntary submit himself or herself to the police. Basically, a law enforcement officer will have to arrest an individual under a number of circumstances. The officer can arrest an individual when he has personally witnessed a crime taking place (Cole & Christopher, 2006). This means that he has the power of arresting the individual or individuals, so that he can put a stop to the criminal act taking place. For example, should a street patrol, or even an officer see some individual snatching somebody’s purse, then the officer can stop the act, and the evidence will be his or her observations, and by so doing the officer will have stopped robbery. Also, a police officer will as well arrest somebody who is driving recklessly on the road or even when driving under the influence of alcohol (Cole & Christopher, 2006).

Again, the officers have also been given the mandate by the law to carry out an arrest when they believe somebody is a likable suspect. Once there is a development of such a reasonable contention and belief, which more often than not will be based on the circumstances and well-thought-out facts, like when somebody is about to commit some crime, then it is the duty of the officer to make an arrest (Samaha et al, 2008). Such a belief is referred to as a ‘probable cause’, and it will even arise from some other scenarios and facts. For example, the law enforcer may receive an urgent report of a robbery taking place, or that has just occurred, then the officer sees a number of people who appear to match the already given information in the streets, then the officer gets hold of the individuals and finds some cash or gun in his pockets, then the officer can go ahead and arrest them.

The most common cases involving an arrest will be reported when an arrest warrant is issued (Cole & Christopher, 2006). Once the officer has been issued with a valid warrant of arrest, this kind of arrest will be perfectly lawful. Criminals are arrested when there is valuable evidence that they have committed crime. With an arrest warrant, there will be the identification of the crime that has been committed, the individual or suspect who has committed the above stated crime or offense, the location where that suspect can be located, and a permission for the officer to make that given arrest.

Once an arrest has taken place, somebody will feel that he or she should challenge the arrest. During all the stages in the criminal process, which involves the arrest, all officers have to ensure that they protect the rights of the citizens as stated in the constitution. These rights include the right to remain silent, and the right against unreasonable torture and searches (Inciardi, 1999). More often than not, these rights of the citizens may be violated by the officers carrying out the criminal process. Should this happen, it would be the duty of the court of law to declare such an arrest quite unlawful and by so doing dismiss the case in favour of the arrestee. At times, some vital evidence in the case may be done away with. Once there are some contentions involving an erroneous arrest, which might include the basis in which the arrest has taken place, the battle would be fought better in the court and not in the streets.

Having seen some of the vital information regarding the law of arrest, it would be necessary that we look at the legal requirements when a proper arrest has to take place. It should also be noted that these requirements will vary from one country to the other depending on the constitutional requirements and the law of the land (Cole & Christopher, 2006). There are a number of things that will have to be considered in order to make sure that an arrest has been done in a legal manner. Generally, a given law enforcer will lawfully make arrests under these circumstances: one, when he or she has personally observed crime taking place. As an example, once the law officer has actually witnessed somebody trying to steal something from another person, he or she has the mandate to put that individual under arrest. Also, when the officer has some probable cause for an individual, he can as well go ahead and commit the arrest. For example, once a person has been knocked by a vehicle and the car rolls away, then the police officers are informed about the car and they see a similar car and similar number plates, the officers will have the obligation of arresting the individual for hit-and-run. Once the individual has been arrested, he can as well be taken in to police custody. In short, as we had seen earlier, a probable cause will refer to some set of observations and facts that can be used by an officer in placing his or her judgment which will lead to the conclusions that a given individual has broken the law (Inciardi, 1999).

The other important legal requirement in arresting an individual is when the officer has been issued with an arrest warrant from a specific judge or magistrate (George & Joseph, 1996). As a summary, it is legal to arrest criminals once they are found guilty by a judge after the offence committed is identified. The place where the suspect was found should be located so that the officer in charge can arrest the suspect. Sometimes, instead of issuing an arrest warrant, the judge may decide to summon that particular suspect into the court for questioning and this summon letter can be delivered by the officer. If the suspect fails to produce him or herself in the court, an arrest warrant will have to be issued especially when there is enough evidence from the witnesses.

Rational Developments and Justifications

Having seen the above legal requirements, there are a number of issues that have never been re-stated when it comes to criminal law. This means that the officers carrying out arrests sometimes tend not to remain within the limits of the law for legal arrests. The most burning one is if an officer use excessive force whenever arresting an individual (George & Joseph, 1996). Any attempt of arrest should be aimed at formulating the existing principles in our modern law on criminal justice. This should be integrated in a way of discouraging all the behaviors that have been happening. The appraisal has to recognize the significant of the moral benefit of all. The law has been based entirely on a morality that will be accepted by all without some biased extortions and selfish breaches of the law and some beliefs of work. The necessary amendments should as well be focused on in ensuring that the criminal is contained in a way that it will become the instrument or tool that is appropriate for the development of the society, and whereby everyone is led by true power of responsibility (George & Joseph, 1996). These justifications for the course of actions in line with law enforcement should be applicable to all the peace officers, police officers, military personnel, and any other specific citizens who have taken the obligation of maintaining law and order in their own society.

Discussions and Personal Position

From the above issues that have been discussed, it is quite true that the presence of criminal justice through arrests is something very vital for any given society. This would ensure there is sanity in the dynamics of life and everyone will be quite comfortable with his or her life (Samaha et al, 2008). However, sometimes it may be necessary that these requirements are re-addressed in order to ensure that there is no single individual who is taken into custody when he is innocent. There should also be keen analysis before an individual is held a suspect for an arrest. This is the only way through which a moral society will be achieved. The use of excessive force by law enforcement officials is something that demands great reproach. This is because the force may harm the individual and cause him or her great deal of pain. Therefore, it will be the ultimate duty of the constitutional law to streamline these issues for effective human co-existence and be able to hold only the criminals responsible for their deeds.


Basically, the law has been able to provide the necessary legal requirements through which any form of arrest can be committed. On my side, I think this is quite appropriate for any given society. However, some citizens may as well be given the power to make an arrest whenever the need arises. Somebody might ask why it should be so. We will all agree that the law enforcement officials may not be ubiquitous so that they will note all the crimes and robbery scenes taking place. However, there should be some governing laws and regulations which protect the citizens so that the process can be done smoothly and never bring much trouble to the citizens (Inciardi, 1999). The bottom line here is that the law is what protects all people and should never be applied to the benefit of some individuals while discriminating the others.


Cole, G. & Christopher, S. (2006). The American System of Criminal Justice: New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

George, S. & Joseph, G. (1996). Criminal Justice: Readings: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Inciardi, J. (1999). Criminal Justice: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Johnson, R. (2009). The Criminal Justice Student Writer’s Manual (4th Edition): New York: Wadsworth Publishing.

Samaha, J. et al, (2008). Criminal Procedure (7th Edition): New York: Wadsworth Publishing.