Arrest without warrant

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An arrest without warrant or a warrantless arrest is an arrest of an individual without the use of an arrest warrant.

In the United States[edit]

Federal rules[edit]

In the Federal Government of the United States, an arrest without a warrant still requires probable cause - in the case of an arrest without a warrant, probable cause must be promptly filed.[1]

In Florida[edit]

In Florida, an arrest without warrant is allowed[2] when:

  • The person has committed a felony or misdemeanor, and the officer has witnessed it
  • A felony has been committed and the officer reasonably believes the person being arrested is the one who has committed it.
  • A violation of Chapter 316 (traffic law violation) has occurred
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed a criminal act which violates a restraining order, such as possession of a firearm despite an injunction against doing so.
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed an act of domestic and/or dating violence
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed child abuse
  • There is probable cause to believe that battery, criminal mischief, or a violation of a safety zone has occurred
  • There is probable cause to believe that a misdemeanor or Felony has been committed, based upon a signed affidavit by a law enforcement officer of the United States Government
  • There is probably cause to believe that a violation of pretrial release has occurred, when the original arrest was for an act of domestic or dating violence
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed trespass in a secure area of an airport.
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed assault upon emergency services
  • There is probable cause to believe that the person has committed sexual cyberharassment.

In the United Kingdom[edit]

Section 24,[3] as of January 1st 2006, provides that a constable may arrest, without a warrant, anyone who is about to commit or is currently committing an offence (or anyone the constable has reasonable grounds to believe to be about to commit or currently committing an offence). The constable is also entitled to arrest anyone guilty of an offence or anyone who he reasonably believes to be guilty of an offence. However, the constable must have reasonable grounds that any of the following reasons make it necessary to arrest the person in question: to enable the real name or address of the person in question to be ascertained, or to prevent the person in question -

  • causing physical injury to himself/herself or any other person,
  • suffering physical injury,
  • causing loss of or damage to property,
  • committing an offence against public decency (provided members of the public going about their normal business cannot reasonably be expected to avoid the person in question),
  • causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway.
  • to protect a child or other vulnerable person from the person in question,
  • to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question,
  • to prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person in question.

Section 24A has similar provisions for citizens' arrests but the reasons permitted for arrest by anyone other than a constable are limited to preventing the person in question from causing injury to the arrestor, themselves or to others; preventing property damage; or preventing the person in question from making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

The definition of an arrest, however, is contained in the judgement of Lord Diplock in Holgate-Mohammed v Duke, where he stated that an arrest is "a continuing act; it starts with the arrester taking a person into his custody, (sc. by action or words restraining him from moving anywhere beyond the arrester's control), and it continues until the person so restrained is either released from custody or, having been brought before a magistrate, is remanded in custody by the magistrate's judicial act." [4]

In the Philippine setting, a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

a. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

b. When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be committed has committed it;

c. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement area to another;

d. Where the accused released on bail attempts to leave the country without court permission;

e. Violation of conditional pardon, punishable under Article 159 of the Revised Penal Code as a case of evasion of service of sentence; and

f. Arrest following a Deportation Proceeding by the Immigration Commissioner against illegal and undesirable means.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Title II: Rule 5b
  2. ^ Florida Statue 901.15
  3. ^ Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, s24
  4. ^ [1984] AC 437, 441