What is the Difference Between Being Arrested vs. Detention?

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Some people confuse a detainment with an arrest. Knowing the difference can help protect your rights if you are ever stopped by the police in the future. In the event that you are stopped and/or arrested, and believe your constitutional rights were violated in the process, you must consult with an experienced Monterey criminal defense lawyer. Depending on the details of your case, the detainment and/or arrest may have been unlawful, and your entire case may be thrown out.

What is detention?

If police engage in “brief and cursory” holding and questioning with you, you are being detained. An easy way of finding out what is going on when a police officer comes up to you and starts asking questions is to politely ask if you can leave. If they tell you that you cannot, you are being detained.

This means that police have reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to engage in criminal behavior. If the police have reason to believe that you may also be armed with a weapon, they may pat down your outer clothing. Next, police will either tell you that you are free to go or read you your rights and arrest you.  

What is an arrest

Determining when a person is being arrested and not merely detained can be difficult. For one, police must have probable cause to make an arrest.

Many people would argue that an arrest also involves handcuffs and a declaration by police that you are being arrested. However, the line between detainment and arrest can sometimes seem blurred when certain modifying factors exist. For example, a detention may turn into arrest based on the following:

  • The way in which you were physically detained by officers and whether they used handcuffs
  • Number of law enforcement officers involved
  • Amount of force police use during the detention
  • Whether there was a need for force
  • How long the stop lasted
  • Whether you were suspected of being armed

It is important to understand that the use of handcuffs does not automatically indicate an arrest. In many cases, it is at the judge’s discretion to decide when law enforcement has performed a detention or an arrest. If you are unlawfully arrested, seek help from an experienced defense lawyer. Your rights have been violated, and you have the right to take action to ensure it does not happen again to you or someone else.

Contact dedicated defense lawyers in Monterey

Giuliano Law has more than two decades of experience fighting for California residents accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses. Whether you were illegally detained or arrested, you deserve to be heard. To discuss your case with an experienced criminal law attorney, call (831) 257-8692 or contact us today.

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