What Are the Steps in an Arrest Procedure?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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In the United States, a person can get arrested when there is a warrant for his arrest, or when a police officer witnesses a crime or has a reasonable suspicion that one was committed. During the first few steps in an arrest procedure, a police officer will identify himself, state that he is arresting the suspect, and inform the suspect of his rights. The suspect will then be detained, usually with handcuffs, and transported to a jail or police station. He will then be booked, during which his personal property will be removed, and he will be photographed, and fingerprinting.

A police officer usually must identify himself prior to arresting a subject. This is especially true for officers who are in regular street clothes, like undercover officers. Officers will also state the reason why the suspect is being arrested. If there is an arrest warrant, the suspect has the right to see and read the warrant.

Suspects being arrested in the United States will usually be informed of their rights at this point in the arrest procedure. These are often known as the Miranda rights. They state that anything a suspect says could possibly be used against him, and that he has the right to legal representation. After this, the officer will usually conduct a pat down search of the suspect to ensure that he does not have any weapons.


To do this, the officer will lightly pat his hands on the suspects clothing. Any hard objects the officer feels, which could possibly be a weapon, are removed. This search is an essential part of the arrest procedure. If an officer failed to perform this search and a suspect had a weapon, this could result in a serious injury or fatality. After a suspect is searched, he is then usually handcuffed.

During this part of the arrest procedure, the officer will usually place handcuffs around the suspects wrists. While a suspect's hands may be positioned in front of him for this, an officer will usually cuff a suspect with his hands behind his back. This can help ensure the safety of the police officers and any bystanders. It will also help prevent the suspect from escaping.

After the suspect is transported to a jail, another, more thorough, search is usually performed. During this search, authorities will take a suspect's personal property, including wallets, money, phones, and sometimes clothes. This property is carefully inventoried and stored until the suspect is released. He will also usually be required to look over an inventory sheet before signing it.

Suspects who are taken into police custody are usually photographed to record how they look at the time of arrest. Fingerprints will also be taken. At this time, suspects will also be asked to provide a variety of personal information, such as their name, address, employer, and Social Security number.


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Discuss this Article

Post 1

Sometimes a person can be placed in handcuffs without being formally arrested, usually for the public's or officer's safety. The officer has an obligation to inform the person he or she is being detained, not arrested. This often happens during a search of a vehicle or immediately after a fight breaks up.

If something illegal is found during the search or a warrant for the person's arrest is discovered, however, a detention can turn into an arrest by following the process mentioned in this article.

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