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Restraint and seizure of a person by someone (e.g., a police officer) acting under legal authority. An officer may arrest a person who is committing or attempting to commit a crime in the officer's presence. Arrest is also permitted if the officer reasonably believes that a crime has been committed and that the person arrested is the guilty party. A court or judicial officer may issue an arrest warrant on a showing of probable cause. Most states restrict or prohibit arrest in civil (noncriminal) cases; an example of occasionally permitted civil arrest is the taking into custody of a debtor who might otherwise abscond. In the U.S., suspects must be warned of their rights when they are arrested (seeMiranda v. Arizona). An unlawful arrest is regarded as false imprisonment and usually invalidates any evidence collected in connection with it. See also rights of the accused; grand jury; indictment.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on arrest, visit Britannica.com.