What is the Difference Between Being Arrested vs. Being Detained?

Being arrested is a scary experience that few people want to go through. For this reason, many people are unprepared for interactions with the police and do not know how to react when they are stopped, questioned, detained or arrested.

If you are stopped by the police, remember to remain calm and be respectful to the officers. Becoming angry and aggressive will only exacerbate the situation. It is also important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested to understand your rights and the best way to move forward.

Understanding your rights in different situations

Knowing the difference between a stop, detention or arrest is important. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know if you are being arrested or detained, ask one of the officers.

Here is some information to help you understand the difference being stopped, detained and arrested:

      • Being stopped. If officers suspect suspicious activity, they may stop you and ask you to justify your presence in a location and identify yourself. You are required by law to do so. However, you don’t have to consent to a search of your persons or property.
      • Detained. You may be detained if the police have “reasonable suspicion” to stop you. This is not the same as an arrest, and you should feel as if you can leave in a short amount of time once the police finish investigating. The police should not detain you for longer than about 20 minutes. You may be patted down for weapons or drugs if the police suspect you have something dangerous. It’s worth noting that during this time the officers are not required to read your Miranda rights, since you have not been arrested.
      • Arrested. You will only be arrested if the officers have a warrant or probable cause. If you are arrested, you will likely be handcuffed and taken back to the station. It is unlikely you will be able to leave in a short period of time. Before questioning you, it is required that an officer reads you your Miranda rights, which grant you the right to remain silent and have access to an attorney.

If you’ve been arrested, it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Colorado as soon as possible.

Contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney

If you’ve been arrested or accused of a crime, it’s important to have legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney like John A. Anderson can aggressively and competently protect your rights. To give yourself the best chance of beating your case, contact the experienced criminal defense attorney John A. Anderson by calling today at (303) 880-7994 or by contacting us online to schedule a consultation.