What is an arrest?

Most people think they are arrested when a police officer says “You are under arrest” and puts you in the back of the police cruiser. Wrong.


An arrest is the act of legal authority taking actual physical custody of a citizen and is a restraint on that citizen’s liberty. An arrest has occurred when there is a submission to authority. It is a seizure of your person. You are not free to go.


Understand that an arrest is more than a stop. It is more than a detention. Interaction with the police is not an arrest, it is contact.


The constitutional rights that most people know of as Miranda rights don't become real until after you are placed under arrest.