Arrest: The Legal Definition and Examples

Arrest: The Legal Definition and Examples

Definition of Arrest

An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty, usually in relation to the investigation and prevention of crime.

What happens when someone is arrested?

For serious crimes, the police typically handcuff the suspect (even if they are not being violent), place them in a police vehicle, and bring them to a police station, jail, or prison where the suspect is incarcerated. The individual usually remains incarcerated for a period of time pending a judicial bail determination or an arraignment.

In other instances, the police may issue a “notice to appear”, specifying where and when a suspect is to appear for their arraignment.

For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.


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