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Can officer behavior in a warrantless arrest help a defense?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

In New York, being arrested for any crime will lead to fear and worry about the future with the possibility of jail time and other consequences being levied. The initial thought is likely to center on how to combat the charges and find a positive outcome with limited or no damage to a person’s freedom and reputation.

The case itself and the allegations must be scrutinized to search for an effective avenue of defense. One area that should be considered is whether the officer adhered to the law when making the arrest, particularly if they did not have a warrant.

An officer’s actions could be questioned

According to the law, a law enforcement officer does not need a warrant to make an arrest if the person they are arresting is believed to have broken the law. However, if the officer did not follow procedure for “when and how” to make the arrest, this could be a vital part of the defense.

Officers can make the arrest regardless of the time of day or location. Still, the person being arrested must be informed of what is happening. The officer is required to tell the person they are a law enforcement officer and why the arrest is being made. An exception is if the person being arrested resists, flees or there are other factors that make disclosing this information impractical.

Officers can use a level of physical force when making the arrest. The extent is based on how much they deem necessary to subdue the suspect. Some might go beyond what is required. Regarding entering premises to make an arrest, the officer can do so if they believe that the person they are trying to arrest is present. This is done in the same manner as if they had a warrant to make the arrest.

Fighting the charges

Although law enforcement officers are granted a certain amount of leeway when making an arrest, that does not mean they can do whatever they want if they do not have a warrant. Officers going beyond their legal authority could be a key part of establishing a defense regardless of the charges. Simply being accused of a crime and arrested does not imply guilt. Those concerned about a warrantless arrest should know their rights when forging a criminal defense.

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