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What are the lawful circumstances for an arrest?

Facing criminal accusations is no easy matter to address. From the moment an officer places you under arrest, you may have major concerns about your future. Of course, at that exact moment, your mind may be reeling from a variety of emotions, and you may not feel able to even think straight.

Though feeling overwhelmed during this time is understandable, a clear mind and focus on the details of the arrest may do you many favors later. Doing your best to remember your arrest could prove useful in the event that an officer made a mistake or did not follow proper procedure when taking you into custody.

What mistakes mean for you

You may think that officers can make mistakes and that those mistakes do not matter because you are already in custody. However, police officers must adhere to the law just like everyone else. This means that, if the arresting officer in your case violated your rights at any time or otherwise did not adhere to the applicable laws, those mistakes could influence your criminal defense. In fact, providing evidence of wrongdoing on the part of a police officer could have your charges reduced or even dropped completely.

Taking you into custody

In general, police officers cannot simply arrest someone because they think the person has done something wrong. Certain stipulations apply to placing a person under arrest. An officer may lawfully take you into custody under the following circumstances:

  • The officer has gathered evidence that gives him or her probable cause to take you into custody. In the case of a DUI arrest, probable cause could come in the form of failing to perform field sobriety tests in a satisfactory manner or having a blood alcohol concentration level over the legal limit.
  • The officer personally witnessed you committing a crime. For example, if an officer saw you make a drug sale, he or she could arrest you on charges for drug crimes.
  • An officer has obtained a warrant for your arrest. A judge must issue this warrant after an officer has provided a sworn statement and given reason for the proposed arrest.

If an officer did not meet at least one of these criteria or otherwise committed an unlawful arrest, you may want to discuss this detail further with an experienced Florida attorney. A mistake on the part of law enforcement could unravel a case against you.

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