6 Different Types of Arrests and How They Work

Of course, you don’t want to ever be arrested. But if you ever are, it pays to know your rights and understand the different types of arrests.

To arrest you, a police officer must satisfy two conditions: They must determine that an offence has been committed they must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are the suspect who has committed that offence.
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If you’re arrested, the police officer must either verbally say that you’re under arrest or physically hold you to make it clear that you are not free to go. At this time, you have the right to ask why you’ve been arrested, and the police officer must answer. Make sure to share this information with your lawyer.

Understanding the different types of arrests will ensure that you’re more prepared for the charges and well-informed about your case:

Type #1: Arrests without a Warrant

As the name suggests, this type of arrest occurs when the police officer does not have a warrant. This can occur for a number of different reasons. Typically, it happens when the police officer reasonably suspects that you’ve been involved in an offence that deems an arrest. They may have reasonable suspicion based on definite facts or credible information indicating that you’ve been involved in a crime.

Most arrests happen without a warrant.

Type #2: Arrests with a Warrant

Being arrested with a warrant is one of the most common types of arrests. A warrant or a summons is required for a police officer to arrest someone when the offence is not an arrestable one. In this case, the officer cannot make the arrest without the warrant.

There are four different types of warrants that give the police force the power to arrest you:

Arrest Warrant

First, there’s an arrest warrant. This type of warrant will include your name, the offence you’re accused of committing, an arrest order, and a signature of the justice of the peace or the judge who ordered the warrant. If you’re named in an arrest warrant, a police officer can arrest you, so that you can be brought to court. The judge or justice of the peace will sign this warrant if a police officer swears an information that they have probable and reasonable grounds to believe you’ve committed an arrestable offence. The police officer must have more than just a hunch or suspicion that you’ve committed the crime.

Bench Warrant

You can also be arrested on a bench warrant. This warrant is issued if you were supposed to attend court for an appearance, trial, or hearing and did not show up.

Witness Warrant

A police officer can arrest you on a witness warrant. You could face this type of arrest if you fail to appear in court as a witness under a subpoena. In this case, you’ll be arrest and either released on a recognizance or held in custody until you testify in court. Because this type of warrant never expires, you can be arrested at any time.

Surety Warrant

Finally, you can be arrested if the police have a surety warrant. This occurs when the person who was responsible for supervising you during your release tells the court they want to be removed as your surety. If you don’t turn yourself in when your surety attends court, this type of warrant will be issued.

3. Citizen’s Arrests

A citizen’s arrest or private arrest can be made by anyone, not just police officers. Regular citizens can make a private arrest when a crime has been committed in their presence or view. The citizen must be in close enough proximity to be certain that a crime has been committed.

A victim can also make a private arrest when a person has committed an offence against them or their property. And anyone can make a citizen’s arrest when a person is escaping arrest.

In the case of a private arrest, the citizen must hand over the arrested person to the nearest police officer or station without delay.

4. Juvenile Arrests

While arrests with a warrant, arrests without a warrant, and citizen’s arrests make up the three different types of arrests, they can be further broken down by the type of offence.

A juvenile arrest is used when a police officer is arresting a suspect who is underage and who will be facing juvenile detection. If you commit an offence before reaching adulthood, this is likely the type of arrest you’ll face.

5. Indictable Arrests

Some crimes are more serious than others. These are known as indictable offences in Canada. Murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault are all indictable offences for which you can be arrested. Cocaine trafficking, robbery, and extortion are other examples. In the US, these are known as felony charges. As a maximum, you can face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for 25 years if you’ve been arrested for first-degree murder as your indictable offence.

Choosing the right criminal lawyer is very important when you’re facing an indictable offence charge. Your lawyer should be experienced in the field of criminal law and be prepared to help you fight these charges.

6. Summary Arrests

If you’ve been arrested for a summary offence, you’re facing less severe charges and a lower maximum sentence of six months in jail for your alleged crime. Along with fewer consequences, any financial penalty you may have to pay will also be lower.

A simple assault charge or a crime against property are examples of a summary offence. In the US, this is known as a misdemeanor arrest.