Being Detained Vs. Being Arrested: What Is The Difference?

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It is not uncommon for people to be detained by police and wonder if they are under arrest.  Law enforcement does not always inform people whether they are being detained or arrested in an effort to violate the individual’s rights. If you have been pulled over by the police, or even taken into station for questioning, it is important to know that you have rights in both situations. Below, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer explains what those are.

What Does it Mean to be Detained by Police?

Police can only detain you if they know or have a very valid reason to believe that you have engaged in some type of criminal activity. If law enforcement believes you have committed a crime, they will likely arrest you. However, if they only suspect that you have committed a criminal defense, they may only detain you. Still, this suspicion has to be more than a hunch. A police officer must have very good reason to believe that you committed a crime before they can detain you.

If you are detained but not arrested, the police can only hold you for a certain amount of time. According to the United States Supreme Court, that is no longer than 20 minutes. If law enforcement does not allow you to leave when there is no reason to keep you, it may be an unlawful detainment.

While being detained, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. You are also not required to provide law enforcement with your identification documents, such as your driver’s license. If police suspect you have a dangerous weapon on your person, they can pat you down during a brief search.

What Does it Mean to be Arrested by Police?

If you are arrested, law enforcement will remove all of your liberties and freedom of movement. They will place you in custody, which could mean anything from placing you in the back of a patrol car or placing you in a holding cell. In most cases, law enforcement officers require an arrest warrant before they can arrest someone, although there are some exceptions to this rule. Immediately following the arrest, the police officer should inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.

Unlike when they are simply detaining someone, law enforcement can use the required amount of force when arresting someone. They are also not required to use the term “arrest,” which can make it more difficult to determine when a detainment turns into an arrest. If you are arrested, you must provide identifying documents to law enforcement.

Our Criminal Defense Attorney in Ouachita Parish Will Uphold Your Rights

Being arrested is more serious than being detained, but a detainment can quickly become just as complicated. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Monroe criminal defense attorney will ensure the police did not violate your rights and if they did, we will help you make it right. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or reach out to us online to schedule a review of your case with our skilled attorney.

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