While television often depicts arrests occurring on a whim, in many instances police must obtain a warrant before taking a suspected criminal into custody. These arrest warrants must be signed by a judge before a police officer is authorized to make an arrest. In addition to giving permission for the arrest, a warrant may make stipulations concerning when and how the arrest can be made, and even set the acceptable bail amount for the suspect.
WHEN AN ARREST WARRANT IS VALID
Police are able to arrest someone of a crime without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by or in connection to the individual. Not every suspected criminal can be arrested this way.
A police officer must get a warrant if:
- They are seeking to arrest a person at their home;
- The suspected crime is a non-serious offense; and
- There is no reason to believe the suspect will destroy evidence or cause public harm.
When a police officer feels they have enough reason to arrest someone in connection with a crime, they must submit an affidavit to a judge or magistrate. This affidavit is given under oath and must provide sufficient evidence suggesting that a crime has been committed by the person named in the warrant. This information must be deliberate and precise. A warrant will not be granted if the officer only provides a broad description of the event.
It is recommended that law enforcement show the warrant to the person they are apprehending. This is to confirm that the person being arrested is the same one listed on the warrant and that they are aware of why they are being arrested.