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The Difference Between Being Detained and Arrested

Last updated 6 years ago

Whether or not you commit a criminal offense, there’s a good chance that you will have to deal with police at some point in your lifetime. Just like in the movies, police officers can either detain you or arrest you—in both cases, it’s important to know your rights and how to behave in order to avoid being exploited or unfairly treated. 


If you are detained, then it will not show up on your official criminal record, nor is it as severe as being arrested. If you are believed to have been either involved in a crime or about to commit a crime, then the police have the authority to detain you for questioning, at which point you should request a criminal defense attorney.

The police might also detain you as a witness to aid them in an investigation. In this case, you should do your best to cooperate and assist in the implementation of justice. However, if the line of questioning turns toward something that might incriminate you or if the officers treat you unfairly, then it’s a good idea to call a criminal defense lawyer.


Bring arrested is a much more serious circumstance. If an officer arrests you, then he has either directly witnessed you committing a crime, or has obtained insurmountable probable cause. Though you are required to go with the police to a holding cell, you still have rights. You have the right to remain silent—which means that you don’t have to answer the possibly incriminating questions of the arresting officers—and you have the right to either a court-appointed public defender or a private criminal defense attorney. 

Whether you have been detained or arrested, it’s important to have someone to call. At Blumberg & Associates, we know when the police have overstepped their bounds as well as how to make sure your rights remain intact. If you’re charged with a DUI, a drug crime, or another criminal offense, then our expert defense attorneys can help exonerate you or reduce the severity of your sentence, so call us at (602) 277-6180.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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