Various Forms of Lawful Arrests:

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lawful arrest:

1. The taking of a person into legal custody either under a valid warrant or on probable cause that the person has committed a crime. — aka arrest by warrant; warrant arrest. [1]

1. An arrest based upon a legal warrant or otherwise based upon probable cause.

2. A proper civil arrest. [2]

Related Terms, Doctrines, etc.:

knock-and-announce rule – officers must knock and announce their identity, authority, and purpose before entering a residence to execute an arrest warrant or search warrant. — aka knock-and-notice rule.

  • no-knock search warrant – a type of search warrant that authorizes exception to the knock-and-announce rule because a prior announcement would probably lead to the destruction of the objects searched for,  or compromise someone(s) safety.

posse comitatus – a group of citizens summoned by a sheriff or other peace officer to assist him in maintaining order or making an arrest. — Often shortened to posse.

Various Forms of Lawful Arrests:

warranted arrest – an arrest made under authority of a warrant.

  • arrest warrant – issued by a disinterested magistrate shown probable cause; directs a law-enforcement officer to arrest and take a person into custody. — aka warrant of arrest.
  • return of warrant – a return of an arrest warrant, by the officer to whom it was given, showing substantially that the officer operated within the scope of proper execution.

warrantless arrest – a legal arrest, without a warrant, carried out by a peace officer or private citizen, when there’s absolute certainty or probable cause that a crime was committed by the suspect. — aka arrest without a warrant.

  • citizen’s arrest – an arrest by a private person on grounds that (1) a public offense was committed in their presence, or (2) they have reasonable cause to believe the arrestee has committed a felony.
  • rearrest – a warrantless arrest due to escape from custody, violation of parole or probation, or failure to appear in court.
  • turnover arrest – made by a security guard who holds the suspect, usually a shoplifter, until the police arrive and then turns the suspect over to them.

criminal arrest (1818) An arrest made on suspicion, especially on probable cause, that the person has committed a crime.


material-witness arrest (1968) An arrest and detention of a witness to a crime for the purpose of inducing the witness to provide material evidence to investigators or prosecutors.  *  This type of arrest requires a warrant based on probable cause.

parol arrest (1904) An arrest ordered by a judge or magistrate from the bench, without written complaint, and executed immediately, such as an arrest of a person who breaches the peace in open court.  See CONTEMPT.

mental-hygiene arrest (2004) The arrest of a person who appears to be mentally ill and is behaving in a manner likely to result in serious harm to self or others, the purpose of the arrest usually being for immediate hospitalization.

civil arrest ( 18c) Hist. An arrest and detention of a civil-suit defendant until bail is posted or a judgment is paid.  *  Civil arrest is prohibited in most states.

  • arrest on final process ( 18c) Hist. Arrest in a civil case after the conclusion of a trial. — aka arrest in execution.
  • arrest on mesne (“meen”) process (18c) Hist. Arrest in a civil case before trial takes place. [1]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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