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Difference Between Being Detained vs. Arrested

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | May 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Being Detained vs. Being Arrested

A police officer may detain a person, without arresting the person, if the officer has articulable suspicion that the person is engaging in criminal activity. For example, a police officer may request identification and conduct a limited search for weapons (for the officer's safety) if the officer observes a person pacing in front of a closed store late at night. This is called a “Terry Stop.” Or, a store owner or employee might detain a person for a short time if they have a strong reason to believe that the person has stolen or was attempting to steal something from the store.

In an arrest, a police officer, state trooper, or sheriff restrains your freedom of movement because of your possible involvement in a criminal offense. The arresting officer may take you into custody, or you may be stopped, verbally or physically, for questioning about a crime. At the time of your arrest, the arresting officers should inform you they have a warrant and produce the warrant for your review. If they have criminally charged you, ask the nature of the criminal charges.

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About the Author

Dominick R. Dolci

Managing Partner Dominick R. Dolci focuses his practice on criminal defense litigation and civil litigation. Dom graduated from John Marshall law school in 1990. He began his legal training in the Cook County States Attorneys Office where he worked at 26th and California. He then transferred ...


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