The Legal Definitions You NEED To Know When You’re Arrested

How many people are arresting without having done anything wrong? The number may be higher than you expect. After all, most people won’t do whatever it is they’re doing wrong if they think there’s a good chance of getting arrested. That means most people who are arrested aren’t prepared for it. They don’t know the legal regulations and procedures that govern arrest and arraignment. They don’t know the legal jargon. These are the legal definitions you absolutely need to know when you’re arrested.


  • Arrest. First and foremost, what is an arrest? If an officer has reasonable suspicion and ascertains probable cause that a crime has been committed by an individual, then the individual may be charged with a crime and arrested. An arrest means you’re taken into custody. You’ll be handcuffed and your Miranda rights will be read. You’ll be told specifically which crime the police intend to charge you with. This description is what comes to mind most often when people contemplate the details of an arrest. More specifically, it’s called a “custodial” arrest. Sometimes there is a “non-custodial” arrest. In this case, you’ll be given an in-writing summons or ticket telling you when and where to appear in court. On occasion, you can avoid court by paying a fine. Either way, you should consult with an attorney to explore the best option for you.
  • Detention. If you’re taken into custody without being read your Miranda rights, then you’re likely being detained. This means the authorities have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, but they haven’t yet ascertained probable cause. If in the course of the detention an investigating officer discovers more details of the crime, you may be formally Mirandized and arrested.
  • Arraignment. This is the first appearance in front of a judge in court. Although the arresting officer should have already informed you of the intended charge, the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates that the charge is read aloud by a judge. If this does not happen within a few days, the legal defense may have a defense to keep you from court.
  • Booking. This is the part of the procedure in which a suspect will have his or her personal information and fingerprints taken for the record. Many times the suspect will be photographed. Although a suspect may be released immediately by the judge, booking is also the point at which he or she may be placed in holding. When this occurs personal possessions are confiscated.