An arrest is the process of apprehending a person who is suspected of or has been charged with a criminal action. There are a number of different situations in which police officers or law enforcement agents can make lawful arrests, and in the US, this is typically allowed with probable cause or through the execution of an arrest warrant. Once an individual is apprehended, he or she is then typically detained in accordance with regional and federal laws in a country. Malicious arrests and wrongful arrests are forms of arrest in which inadequate evidence is presented for the apprehension of a suspect or when the detainment is done for malicious reasons.
Lawful arrests are typically made by a police officer or other member of a law enforcement agency. This type of arrest involves an individual suspected of committing a crime being physically apprehended and detained to await further legal action. For a lawful arrest to occur, a police officer in the US must typically have probable cause to suspect a person of committing a crime or be executing a warrant issued by a judge. The police officer or law enforcement agent who conducts the apprehension is typically referred to as the arresting officer.
A citizen’s arrest is a process by which a citizen who is not a member of recognized law enforcement can apprehend someone seen committing a crime. The conditions under which this type of apprehension can be performed can be fairly complicated, however, and if not done properly, the person arresting someone can be charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and impersonating a police officer. Citizen’s arrests should, therefore, be done rarely, and instead law enforcement officers should be notified of a crime whenever possible. In some areas, the manager or owner of a business can place someone who is caught in the act of shoplifting under “investigative detainment” until police arrive.
When arrests are not performed lawfully, they are typically referred to as either wrongful or malicious arrests. A wrongful arrest, sometimes called false arrest, usually occurs when someone is arrested without proper evidence against him or her. This could be the result of poor description of a suspect by a witness or a law enforcement officer arresting a person without sufficient probable cause. A malicious arrest, on the other hand, usually occurs as a willful act of malice against another person, such as a law enforcement agent arresting a person due to a personal grievance.