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What are the purposes of an arrest?

An arrest is an order issued by a justice of the peace or a magistrate for the immediate production of the accused before the court.

It is issued with reference to an offence criminal offence committed and for which the person to be arrested will be charged criminally. Who has the power to make arrests? When can a person be arrested?

What are the purposes of an arrest? Can an arrest be made even without a warrant for arrest? These are questions addressed below.

1. A warrant for arrest can be issued by a Justice of the Peace or a Magistrate. They usually issue a warrant for arrest upon application by a police officer, upon an indictment issued by the Director of Prosecutions and upon complaint by a private person.

2. A warrant for arrest begins the judicial process. This means that from the time that a warrant for you arrest is issued, you will be brought under the custody and authority of the court. For this reason, the court can require your attendance at any hearing called by it.

3. A police officer who has a reasonable belief that a person has just committed, is actually committing or is about to commit a crime may place a person under arrest even without a written warrant for arrest issued by a Justice of the Peace or a Magistrate. One instance is when a police officer stops a motorist for an alcohol breath test and the result yields a prescribed concentration of alcohol in his blood. The police officer may place the motorist under arrest even without a written warrant for his arrest.

4. An arrest has these purposes: an arrest places the accused under the custody and jurisdiction of the court; an arrest begins the judicial process in a criminal case;

  • an arrest prevents the continuing commission of a crime (as when a drink driver is arrested so that he will no longer continue driving while under the influence of alcohol);
  • an arrest allows the police to ask the arrested person questions to determine his identity; an arrest can prevent the perpetrator of a crime from fleeing the scene of a crime;
  • and it can preserve the integrity of evidence of the crime committed.

5. A citizen may arrest another citizen without a warrant for arrest. The citizen making the arrest must have actually witnessed the commission of an act which amounts to a crime. He must have personal knowledge of facts about the commission of a crime which he had witnessed.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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