What is an arrest? What is a stop?

UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS FROM ARREST TO CRIMINAL CHARGE

Police contact begins with a stop, proceeds to a detention and culminates with an arrest.

When contact is voluntary you are always free to go.

A detention is lawful only if the officer has articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed and you are a person of interest.

An arrest occurs when you are no longer free to go.

Understanding the difference between a stop and an arrest is key to understanding your constitutional rights. Miranda warnings are only required after an arrest. So what to do?

If you are having contact with the police and are concerned that you are a person of interest: ask for an attorney. Police cannot offer you freedom or a pass. Don’t negotiate with a police officer. Only a prosecutor can give you a deal that stands up in court.

For more information go to CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME?