What are my Arrest Rights?

Article Details
  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: Lisa F. Young, Tex Hex, Ammentorp, Robert Hoetink
  • Last Modified Date: 28 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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If you are arrested, you are denied your right to liberty. The loss of that right, however, does not mean that you lose all of your rights. Arrest rights vary from one country to another, but there are some that are common in many societies. These include the right to be aware of your arrest, the right to know why you are arrested, and the right to dignity and humanity.

In almost all societies, if you are arrested, you have the right to be made aware of this. Police officers generally cannot simply detain you and force you to accompany them without telling you that you are under arrest. It is also usually not lawful for agents of the law to trick you into arrest. This means that if an officer asks you to accompany him to the police station for questioning, your presence should at all times be voluntary unless at some point you are notified that you are being placed under arrest.

If you are deprived of your liberty, your arrest rights should include being informed of the reason. In most instances, it is not lawful to detain an individual without telling him why he has been detained. You should be given exact and specific reasons. In many countries, you have a right to have these presented in writing within a certain period of time. A police officer should not arrest you on random suspicions of guilt.


Many people believe that their arrest rights include a phone call. This is not always true. A person generally has the right to have a person informed of his whereabouts. This does not mean, however, that if you are arrested, you can make that call yourself.

Most developed societies do not require a person to incriminate himself. This means that if you are arrested and you are guilty, you do not have to admit your guilt. Instead, you can silently allow your accusers to present the evidence they have against you in a court of law.

Your arrest rights should include access to legal consultation. You should be given an opportunity to have a legal professional explain the charges against you. If you do not wish to make a statement without a legal professional present or before you have consulted with one, you should not be made to do so.

In most societies, the law enforcement and the judiciary are two separate branches. Until you have been deemed guilty by a judicial agent, you should be presumed innocent. Law enforcement agents generally have no authority to deem you guilty or to decide what punishment you should face. As such, while you are in police custody, you should be treated humanely and with dignity.

Humane and dignified treatment means that all of your arrest rights should be respected. You should not be verbally or physically abused. You should also not be deprived of essential items such as access to toilets, food, or water.



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