Can You Get Arrested Without A Warrant?

There are several ways you can get arrested both with and without a warrant. The grounds for arrest are very clear, but as always it is good to know your rights – especially if you suspect you’re being treated unfairly. 

Here we discuss everything you need to know about being arrested without a warrant, what the process looks like and what you can do about it. 

But first, let’s get the basics out the way:

What is a warrant? 

A warrant is a legal mechanism issued by a Justice of the Peace and is carried out by a police officer to search, obtain evidence, arrest and detain a person in the event they are believed to have broken the law or have failed to appear before the court. Different types of warrants include:

  • Arrest warrants can be issued either as a pre-court arrest warrant or following the breach of a sentence or police order
  • Search warrants – are issued to search a person’s home or property 
  • Bench warrants are issued by a court in the event of not showing up to a mandatory court appearance

Do police need a warrant to arrest you?

The simple answer is no. Police officers do not necessarily need a warrant to arrest or detain someone. Most arrests occur without a warrant being issued. This is because many arrests occur when people are caught committing the crime. It’s less common for an arrest to be made following a failure to appear in court, for example. 

Ok, so what can police officers arrest me for without a warrant?

Police officers these days have many different grounds on which to make an arrest, but there are limits to their powers in this respect. It’s important to take into consideration your rights under the law, and if you find yourself being taken into custody – make sure you contact a qualified criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Even without a warrant, a police officer can arrest you if:

  • You are caught in the act of, or about to commit an act that would involve violence or cause someone to fear that violence will be used 
  • Police reasonably suspect that you are, or have just committed an offence that carries a term of imprisonment as punishment 
  • Police reasonably suspect you are about to breach the peace 
  • Police reasonably suspect you are, have, or are about to commit an offence that carries a term of 5 + years of imprisonment as punishment. 
  • You are believed to be about to carry out a breach of a VRO, FVRO, or related police order involving family violence or serious threats. 

[H2] – What other grounds can police arrest on?

While having committed or being about to commit a serious crime can easily result in an arrest without a warrant, there are also other grounds police can use to carry out an arrest. These include:

  • If the police believe that if you are not arrested you will likely continue or repeat an offence
  • If you are likely to commit another offence
  • If you are believed to be a danger to yourself, others safety
  • If your identity cannot be legally obtained 
  • If you are perceived likely to interfere with ongoing criminal investigations (such as influencing a witness or tampering with evidence)

When can police NOT make an arrest?

If the police do not have sufficient grounds to make an arrest they are forbidden by law to make that arrest. If you believe the circumstances of your arrest were questionable, don’t waste any time. Get in contact with a qualified criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Failing to observe proper procedure when making an arrest is all too common and can result in your freedoms being limited without cause or necessity. All police officers must ensure they do the following before making an arrest:

  • Identify themselves as a police officer and give their name and duty station
  • Explain the reasons for arrest 
  • Explain that refusal to be arrested may end up being a criminal offence
  • Ensure the person is aware of their rights (such as the opportunity to speak with a criminal lawyer and or interpreter)

What to do If I’m arrested?

Stay calm and respectful. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important not to give the police any reason to restrain or lay any further charges against you. Failing to comply with an arrest can be a serious matter and can result in a longer sentence. Remain polite, and don’t be afraid to ask for a lawyer at any point. 

Get legal advice today 

If you suspect you may be arrested, with or without a warrant, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you think an arrest has been carried out on false pretence or was made in breach of your rights – make sure you get the help you need to set the record straight. Contact a professional criminal lawyer in Perth today. 

* This article does not constitute legal advice. For legal assistance, reach out to a qualified legal practitioner near you.  

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