Arrested Without a Warrant in Nevada: What Counts as a Legal or Illegal Arrest
Arrests happen all the time for many reasons.
But the arrest process is far from perfect and there are many ways that a person can be arrested.
The arrest process is usually the first step in the criminal justice process and involves taking a suspect into custody. The suspect must be facing charges of some kind and the arrest should be in a manner that is authorized by law.
Believe it or not an arrest can be made by a peace officer or even by a private citizen.
Police will usually get a warrant for a suspect’s arrest issued by a judge before taking a person into custody. Contrary to popular belief, warrants are not always necessary for making an arrest. Many individuals mistakenly assume that an arrest requires a warrant, often influenced by the portrayal in shows like Law & Order.
People can be arrested for “probable cause” if law enforcement believes they have committed a crime.
Once a person is arrested all suspects must be given or read their “Miranda Warnings” prior to any questioning by police. If you are arrested you have no obligation to speak with the police even after they read you the Miranda Warning.
A good defense team will tell you not to speak with police without an attorney.
If you or someone you know is arrested or facing other criminal charges it is important to contact a knowledgeable defense attorney. The Defenders are experienced criminal defense attorneys who can help you with your legal issues. Contact our office to speak with an attorney about your case today.
What Is the Legal Definition of Arrest in Nevada?
NRS 171.104 defines what an arrest means. It reads “An arrest is the taking of a person into custody, in a case and in the manner authorized by law.”
In Nevada, the police can arrest someone when they have probable cause to believe the suspect committed a crime.
When someone is arrested, the police will verbally inform the suspects they are under arrest.
The police will restrain them in handcuffs and transport them to the police station or local jail facility.
Once there the suspect will be “processed” into the jail system. The suspects will be fingerprinted, have photos taken and mugshots taken, this is also called the booking process.
In some cases, the suspect will remain in custody until the case against them works its way through the court system.
Most suspects who are arrested are eligible for bail or can be released on their own recognizance. If you are released, you will be given a court date for your arraignment or the formal reading of the charges against you.
What Is Detention
This is when the police or law enforcement temporarily detain a suspect to determine whether a crime was committed by the suspect.
Law enforcement is legally allowed to temporarily detain a suspect if they “reasonably believe” the suspect has committed a crime or civil infraction.
A reasonable belief, though not equivalent to probable cause, serves as a basis for an arrest with a lower standard.
During the detention process, suspects are required to give identification but are not required to answer any other questions.
If someone is believed to be armed or is an immediate threat, the police may search them to seize any weapons.
During the process of detaining an individual, it is crucial for the police to refrain from relocating the person in question. The detention must occur at the site where the alleged crime took place.
The detention must be as short as possible.
If the police believe the detainee committed a crime, the suspect can be arrested after the detention process.
General Rule of Thumb
In Nevada, the police need a current and valid warrant to arrest a suspect for a criminal charge.
However, the police have another option in “probable cause” to believe a suspect committed a crime.
If a person is arrested without probable cause, the illegal arrest may result in the criminal charges being dismissed.
If law enforcement believes a suspect may have committed a crime, the police after an investigation (possibly) will draw up an affidavit or information explaining why there is probable cause to suspect the person.
The police or district attorney’s office will go to court and ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant.
If the judge agrees there is probable cause, the court issues a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. With this warrant, the police are free to look for the suspect and arrest them.
In some cases, usually more high-profile cases, a warrant is issued for a person’s arrest after an indictment has been issued from a Grand Jury. An indictment or information is issued when a Grand Jury determines there is enough evidence to arrest a suspect of a crime.
If a person has a current outstanding warrant for their arrest, they can be arrested at any time.
For example, if you are pulled over for a minor traffic violation and the police officer runs the person’s driver’s license and finds out they have a warrant they can be arrested at that time.
Arrest Without a Warrant
In some cases, the crime is being committed or is about to be committed and there is no time to secure an arrest warrant from a judge.
Police are allowed to execute a warrantless arrest during the following circumstances:
- The suspect is committing any crime in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
- The suspect committed a felony or a gross misdemeanor, it doesn’t matter if any law enforcement was present or not; or
- The officer has probable cause to believe the suspect committed a gross misdemeanor or a felony
Probable Cause in Nevada
Probable cause is a reasonable belief that someone has committed or is about to commit a crime. This belief must be based on facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that an offense has been or will be committed.
There must be some evidence that suggests criminal activity has or will occur before the police can arrest a suspect or search a property,
Illegal Arrest in Nevada
Police may detain you for up to one hour if they suspect you have been involved in criminal activity.
They must release you after one hour. This is called a Terry Stop or stop and frisk. During a Terry Stop, the police may pat down your clothing.
Once a Terry Stop is initiated, you are no longer allowed to depart.
False Arrest Elements
If you are illegally arrested or falsely imprisoned by the police, you can sue for false imprisonment and false arrest.
There are four elements of false arrest and must include:
- The police took you into custody
- The police lacked probable cause to arrest you
- The custody was against your will
- A reasonable person in your position would not have felt free to leave
You have the burden of proof in a false arrest case by the preponderance of the evidence.
In other words, it would be more likely than not that the police committed false arrests.
Defense Against False Arrests
False arrest is hard to prove for many reasons and should only be handled by an experienced defense team that has experience going against the police.
There are a few ways the police may defend against the charges:
- There was no arrest, a reasonable person would have felt free to leave
- The arrest was legal due to probable cause
- The arrest was legal due to an arrest warrant that was current
- Qualified Immunity, the police use this to say they were acting in good faith for the community.
Your Las Vegas Defense Attorney
If you believe that you have been falsely arrested by law enforcement in Nevada, call Nevada’s top defense team, The Defenders.
With over 40 years in Nevada, we know the laws and can defend against any crimes.
You should always hire a defense attorney if you’ve been arrested for any crime, whether or not you believe you were falsely arrested.
False arrest for any crime can cause lasting trauma for someone who hasn’t committed a crime.
The Defenders will investigate your arrest and the case against you to determine whether a false arrest was made.
If we deem the arrest false there are many options for you as the victim of false arrest against the police.
Our team will guide you through the process and offer you various options of recourse.
If your arrest turns out to be legal, we will help you fight the charges against you for a result that works for all parties.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime call The Defenders today.