The Difference Between a Lawful and Unlawful Arrest Without a Warrant

By: Wallin & Klarich

Arrest Without a Warrant Must Be Supported by Objective Facts Justifying a Reasonable Belief that an Individual Has Violated the Law – What an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Do for You

In order to justify an arrest without a warrant, the actions of the arresting officer must be objectively reasonable. The actions must be based on facts that provide a reasonable belief that the person arrested has committed a public offense. (People v. Miller (1972) 7 Cal.3d 219.) This rule is based on a provision of the Penal Code, § 836, which provides: “A peace officer may. . . without a warrant, arrest a person whenever he has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony, whether or not a felony has in fact occurred.”

Cause to arrest exists when facts known to the arresting officer would lead person of ordinary care and prudence to entertain honest and strong suspicion that person arrested is guilty of a crime. People v. Price (1991) 1 Cal.4th 324. Determining whether an officer had cause to arrest requires two analytical distinct steps. First, the Court must ascertain when the arrest occurred and what the arresting officer then knew. Second, the Court decides whether the officer’s knowledge at the time of arrest constituted adequate cause.

There are various technical facts and circumstances that can affect the lawfulness or unlawfulness of an arrest. If you are looking for a highly skilled California criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend your rights and keep you informed, then Wallin & Klarich can help protect your rights. Call us today at 888-280-6839 for a case evaluation or visit our website at for more information.

Posted In: Criminal Defense