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Understanding Criminal Procedure and Arrests in Alabama

Police and Procedures for Arrest in Wetumpka

During an arrest, police officers detain a person in police custody, often because they are suspected of committing a crime. Arresting someone is a serious matter that involves depriving a person of their freedom of movement. For this reason, police are required to follow certain procedures when effecting an arrest. 

The specific procedural requirements for arrest vary between states. Individual police departments also often have additional arrest procedures. 

It is often assumed that police must put a person in handcuffs or into a police vehicle to arrest them, however, this is not the case. Police may choose to do so depending on the circumstances but they are not legally required to handcuff or physically detain someone to effect an arrest. 

Police are also not legally required to read someone their Miranda rights (“you have the right to remain silent, anything you do say…”) at the time of their arrest. These rights must be explained before police can interrogate someone. In practice, however, police often read a person their Miranda rights at the time of their arrest.  

Specific circumstances must exist before a police officer can lawfully arrest someone. 

When Can an Officer Make an Arrest in Wetumpka

A police officer can't arrest someone just because “they look suspicious” or the police officer “has a hunch” about something. 

A police officer can arrest someone when they:

  • Have an arrest warrant issued by a judge
  • See someone commit a crime
  • Have probable cause to believe someone committed or is about to commit a crime

Probable cause means that actual information exists leading the police officer to believe the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. In other words, the police officer holds more than mere suspicion, but not enough to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person committed or will soon commit a crime. 

Excessive Force in Alabama

The issue of excessive force often arises in the context of an arrest. Under the Fourth and Eighth amendments of the Consitution, police must only use the minimum force reasonably necessary to effect an arrest. They cannot use excessive force. 

When reviewing whether the force used was reasonable, a court will consider factors including:

  • The seriousness of the crime the person was suspected of committing
  • Whether the suspect was a threat
  • Whether the suspect attempted to escape arrest

If excessive force is used during an arrest, the suspect may have a basis for a civil case against the officer for violating their constitutional rights. A person subject to excessive force can also file a formal complaint with the relevant police department, which may consider disciplinary action, or the Department of Justice, which may consider criminal charges depending on the circumstances and results of any investigation. 

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Arrested in Alabama

If you are arrested by police, you should immediately ask to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. You have the right to do so and they are best placed to advise you of the law and the options available to you in your circumstances. 

An attorney can also later review your arrest for any issues of excessive force or unlawful arrest and assist you with preparing any related motions. Call Stone, Britt, & Webb, LLC today at 334-517-6520 to schedule a consultation to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys. You don't have to face this alone.

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