Ideally, arrests should be made
only after probable cause has been proven and a warrant has been
issued by a magistrate who impartially considered all the
relevant facts. Instead, warrantless arrests are the rule. Many
police officers have never even had the experience of asking for
Police are not supposed to
arrest anyone unless they have a warrant, but there are
countless exceptions. The exceptions have all but made getting a
warrant obsolete. Generally, police may arrest those who commit
a crime in the presence of the officer.
Texas Courts have ruled it is
legal for police officers to approach any person to simply talk,
if the officer has a right to be there. Technically, people are
free to ignore the officer and walk away from him. Common sense
tells us that almost no one feels free to walk away from such an
encounter, but that's the law. No "seizure" occurs in
"Seizure" of a person
occurs, however, when the police officer temporarily
"detains" someone. Detention is allowed if the officer
has "reasonable suspicion" that some unusual activity
is happening, that the unusual activity is related to a crime,
and that the person detained is somehow connected to the unusual
activity. This is called a "temporary detention", and
it may last only as long as the circumstances justify it. In
other words, the moment the officer learns that his suspicion is
incorrect, detaining the person any longer is illegal.
For example, a police officer
sees a man with a ski mask in 90-degree weather running from the
direction of a bank which has alarms sounding. The officer has
reasonable suspicion to temporarily detain the man.
"Probable Cause" is
the standard used to determine whether the police officer has
sufficient reason to arrest a person. Basically, that means the
officer has good reason to arrest when the facts he knows are
enough to allow a reasonable man to form a belief that the
person detained has actually committed a crime.
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are for people 21 years or older, do not involve enhancements,
are not exclusive, and are limited to Texas.
**This page is for
informational purposes ONLY and must not be relied upon as legal
advice because it is NOT a substitute for the advice of a qualified
attorney, nor does it establish an attorney-client
Not certified by the Texas
Board of Legal Specialization.