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Definition of Arrest

An arrest is the process whereby a person is taken into legal custody by a legal authority. You do not have to be handcuffed or physically restrained to be under arrest. You can be arrested if a police officer sees you committing a crime, the officer has probable cause to believe you have committed a crime (evidence needs to exist not just the officer?s hunch), or the police have obtained an arrest warrant from a judge.

After the arrest is the first court appearance, known as the arraignment. At the arraignment the defendant is notified of the charges against them, bail is set, and the court will also notify the defendant of all future proceedings such as the preliminary hearing, pretrial motions and the trial date. Most defendants should talk to a criminal attorney if they have been arrested for a crime. Many criminal lawyers specialize in certain types of crimes. For instance, if you are arrested for drunk driving it is important to talk to a DUI lawyer before making a plea.

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