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Arrest Warrants

Navigation:  Home > Criminal Law  > Arrest Warrants


For Fourth Amendment purposes, an arrest warrant founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives when there is reason to believe the suspect is within.

Probable Cause is the standard for a constitutionally valid arrest, even without an arrest warrant. Probable cause is facts and circumstances sufficient to warrant a prudent person in believing that a suspect commits or is committing an offense. Probable cause exists if the facts and circumstances within the police officer's knowledge and of which he has reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the suspect commits or is committing an offense. 

Before entering a residence to execute an arrest warrant, an officer must have a reasonable belief that the suspect resides at the place to be entered and have reason to believe that the suspect is present at the time the warrant is executed.

There is ordinarily no constitutional violation where a person is arrested with probable and under to a valid arrest warrant but by mistake. A person in that situation cannot, however, be detained indefinitely in the face of repeated protests of innocence even though the warrant under which he was arrested and detained met the standards of the Fourth Amendment.

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