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  1. #1
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Difference in "arrest" and "detention"

    Hi everybody, I found this site a few days ago from the tagline in an officers sig on another board. I tried to register there because they have a local area forum and I wanted to ask some of the San Diego police about this. But I was never authorized to post on that board.

    I was in a bar on May 31 that was raided by the police. There were dope dealers hanging out in the bus stop in front of the bar, I think that was the main reason for the raid. As they are checking everybody's ID in the bar, my name came back with an arrest warrant in San Francisco CA. I have no warrants and I haven't been to San Fran in twenty years, so I know it's not me. The arresting officer even asked me if I had any warrants or if I had been to San Francisco. Anyway, he arrests me. I go into the paddy wagon with the dope dealers for a ride to the police station. I was never booked into jail, I was released from the police station a few minutes after I arrived there. I did not even come close to matching the description of the person on the warrant.

    I got a letter a few days later from the SDPD stating that I had been detained, as in not arrested. I had always thought, (and maybe I watch too much NYPD Blue), that a person who is "detained" is actually free to go if he wants, it's only when you are under arrest that you can not leave. Is that right? Obviously, I was not free to leave while handcuffed in a paddy wagon.

    Also, why did they bother taking the time to put me in the paddy wagon for a trip to the police station when they probably had the description of the person on the warrant already? It would have saved them time, and my time too. Fortunately this took place in downtown, so I did not have far to walk to get back to where I was. If this had taken place far from the police station I would have been very inconvenienced to get back where I was as they would not have transported me back.

    BTW, my doppleganger's warrant was a no-bail warrant. He must be a murderer or an escape artist.

  2. #2
    TacticalII's Avatar
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    Didn't you ask this question on another forum?

  3. #3
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Yes, a Wyoming state trooper has a personal message board. I asked if he would copy it into the San Diego board but he didn't. I think some of what I posted must have upset him. I left that stuff out.

  4. #4
    Rhino's Avatar
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    While I'm not going to speculate on the actions of the officers or your version of events, I will answer your more general question: I had always thought, (and maybe I watch too much NYPD Blue), that a person who is "detained" is actually free to go if he wants, it's only when you are under arrest that you can not leave. Is that right?

    No, it's not. Otherwise, it's not detained, it's a citizen contact. An officer may detain a person for investigative purposes if he has reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur. In the legal and LE circles, this is called a "Terry stop" (named after the US Supreme Court case Terry vs. Ohio).

    If you feel like you were wrongfully detained, that's an issue you'll have to take up with your arresting agency. I wasn't there and I don't know all the facts.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

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    Quote Originally Posted by hughb View Post
    I was never booked into jail, I was released from the police station a few minutes after I arrived there. I did not even come close to matching the description of the person on the warrant.

    Also, why did they bother taking the time to put me in the paddy wagon for a trip to the police station when they probably had the description of the person on the warrant already?
    I'm sure the reason why they picked you up and took you down town was to do just that verify the warrant. Most warrants do not give an exact description of the person wanted. It will give a name and DOB and the basics. But depending on how old the warrant is you or the person on the warrant could have or did change.

    Think about it this way do you believe everything you hear? If I believed everyone that said they didn't do it or it wasn't them I'd be out of a job. So my guess is that they detained you and while you were on your way down town they were verifying the warrant. Oviously after they got you there they had it verified and cut you loose.
    Just because your sign off after you're shift is done, doesn't mean that it's over and put blinders on. You're a cop 24/7 wether you like it or not. If thats something you can't handle, you should find a new line of work!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    While I'm not going to speculate on the actions of the officers or your version of events, I will answer your more general question: I had always thought, (and maybe I watch too much NYPD Blue), that a person who is "detained" is actually free to go if he wants, it's only when you are under arrest that you can not leave. Is that right?

    No, it's not. Otherwise, it's not detained, it's a citizen contact. An officer may detain a person for investigative purposes if he has reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur. In the legal and LE circles, this is called a "Terry stop" (named after the US Supreme Court case Terry vs. Ohio).

    If you feel like you were wrongfully detained, that's an issue you'll have to take up with your arresting agency. I wasn't there and I don't know all the facts.
    +1

    It also needs to be said that once arrested, a person can be unarrested, (released from custodial restraint). Given the circumstances that probable cause was present for the arrest, but after further investigation, it was found that there was no reason to further hold the person, the arrest was still valid. Arrests are made based on probable cause, and are not necessarily invalidated even though no "bond" or court appearance was required once the matter was resolved without formal charges being filed.

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    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  7. #7
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    Yeah,the hardest part about un-arresting is the backward reading of that damn Miranda card.

  8. #8
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    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughb View Post
    (and maybe I watch too much NYPD Blue)
    TV cop shows are bullshit for just this reason.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    lewisipso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughb View Post
    I was in a bar on May 31 that was raided by the police. There were dope dealers hanging out in the bus stop in front of the bar, I think that was the main reason for the raid.
    Commom sense rules. Drink at home.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  10. #10
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    pc830cop is offline Just another squirrel looking for a NUT
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    mavriktu Yeah,the hardest part about un-arresting is the backward reading of that damn Miranda card.




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  11. #11
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    As others have said -- there is a functional difference between an investigative detention and an arrest.

    In the strictest sense, anytime you submit (or are made to submit to) the authority of the police and they deprive you of your freedom of movement, you are arrested. However, the courts have wisely distinguished between different circumstances; we use the term detention to signify an incidence where the police deprive you of your freedom of movement without rising to the level of a formal arrest. Different legal standards must be met; reasonable, articulable suspicion justifies a detention, while probable cause is required for an arrest.

    In this case -- the cops are working in the field and get a hit on your name. They're given bare minimum details over the radio, and you're close enough. They transport you somewhere so that they can determine whether or not you're the guy who's wanted... And you're not. So, they let you go. Minimal harm, no foul (as hard as it is to believe, descriptions in warrant hits are sometimes wrong -- and, even more incredibly... people lie to cops! Especially when they've got warrants...) Get on with your life...

    For more detailed and personal response - why not contact the San Diego PD and ask them, instead of a bunch of people on the internet? How the hell do you know if anyone on any message board actually knows what they're talking about?

  12. #12
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    While I'm not going to speculate on the actions of the officers or your version of events, I will answer your more general question: I had always thought, (and maybe I watch too much NYPD Blue), that a person who is "detained" is actually free to go if he wants, it's only when you are under arrest that you can not leave. Is that right?

    No, it's not. Otherwise, it's not detained, it's a citizen contact. An officer may detain a person for investigative purposes if he has reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred or is about to occur. In the legal and LE circles, this is called a "Terry stop" (named after the US Supreme Court case Terry vs. Ohio).

    If you feel like you were wrongfully detained, that's an issue you'll have to take up with your arresting agency. I wasn't there and I don't know all the facts.

    Thanks much Rhino, I had never heard of Terry vs Ohio. Interesting stuff, looks like it definitely applies here.

    Frankly, for about a day or two I ~did~ feel like I was wrongly detained and I was considering complaining to the police department. But I realized I was probably letting my emotions get the best of me and my complaint may not have any substance. The issue I have with it is that I wonder if they had the description, DOB, etc. of the person on the warrant prior to detaining me and I was just detained for entertainment purposes. Indeed, one of the officers was laughing at me as I was cuffed and led out of the bar. While I certainly felt humiliated at the time, I guess it's not such a big deal.

    Thanks again, that Terry vs. Ohio was an intersting read I learned a thing or two today.

  13. #13
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapper_132 View Post
    I'm sure the reason why they picked you up and took you down town was to do just that verify the warrant. Most warrants do not give an exact description of the person wanted. It will give a name and DOB and the basics. But depending on how old the warrant is you or the person on the warrant could have or did change.

    Think about it this way do you believe everything you hear? If I believed everyone that said they didn't do it or it wasn't them I'd be out of a job. So my guess is that they detained you and while you were on your way down town they were verifying the warrant. Oviously after they got you there they had it verified and cut you loose.
    Thanks for the response, that does make sense. I think I once heard an officer say he spends all day being "lied to and cried to". The ride in the paddy wagon was an interesting experience. The guy next to me was mumbling that he wasn't getting out of there until 2019.

  14. #14
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    Commom sense rules. Drink at home.
    I had always noticed the rough looking crowd out there but not once in the ten years that I've been going to that bar has anyone offered to sell me drugs. I, and others too, just thought it was a bunch of bums hanging around. On a side note, I drove by there on the first Saturday night after the raid and there was not one person at that bus stop. Usually there are dozens of people. I guess every one of them must have been a dope dealer!

  15. #15
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    As others have said -- there is a functional difference between an investigative detention and an arrest.

    In the strictest sense, anytime you submit (or are made to submit to) the authority of the police and they deprive you of your freedom of movement, you are arrested. However, the courts have wisely distinguished between different circumstances; we use the term detention to signify an incidence where the police deprive you of your freedom of movement without rising to the level of a formal arrest. Different legal standards must be met; reasonable, articulable suspicion justifies a detention, while probable cause is required for an arrest.

    In this case -- the cops are working in the field and get a hit on your name. They're given bare minimum details over the radio, and you're close enough. They transport you somewhere so that they can determine whether or not you're the guy who's wanted... And you're not. So, they let you go. Minimal harm, no foul (as hard as it is to believe, descriptions in warrant hits are sometimes wrong -- and, even more incredibly... people lie to cops! Especially when they've got warrants...) Get on with your life...

    For more detailed and personal response - why not contact the San Diego PD and ask them, instead of a bunch of people on the internet? How the hell do you know if anyone on any message board actually knows what they're talking about?

    Well, after a few moments of indignation I was actually able to get on with my life.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about complaining to the police department, and after thinking about it I decided I probably didn't have much to complain about. I was mad and a little humiliated, but like you said, not harm, no foul.

    How do I know if anyone on a message board knows what they are talking about? I could ask you the same question.

    Thanks for the response.

  16. #16
    jato's Avatar
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    hughb,

    You were arrested and released per PC 849(b)(1):

    849. (a) When an arrest is made without a warrant by a peace
    officer
    or private person, the person arrested, if not otherwise
    released, shall, without unnecessary delay, be taken before the
    nearest or most accessible magistrate in the county in which the
    offense is triable, and a complaint stating the charge against the
    arrested person shall be laid before such magistrate.
    (b) Any peace officer may release from custody, instead of taking
    such person before a magistrate, any person arrested without a
    warrant whenever:
    (1) He or she is satisfied that there are insufficient grounds for
    making a criminal complaint against the person arrested.
    Technically you were arrested. One way to define an arrest is a detention plus significant movement. You were detained and moved and therefore arrested.

    The 849(b) form had the "detention" verbiage for some strange legal reason. We have been using the same form since I was an Explorer in 1988.

    Essentially you were arrested then unarrested (allegations dropped).

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    jato's Avatar
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    that a person who is "detained" is actually free to go if he wants, it's only when you are under arrest that you can not leave. Is that right?
    In a detention, the person detained is not free to leave until the detention is over (determined by the Peace Officer). If you try and leave a detention, you can be arrested per PC 148 (a)(1).

    148. (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or
    obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical
    technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797)
    of the Health and Safety Code, in the discharge or attempt to
    discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other
    punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding
    one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail
    not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

  18. #18
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    jato - the letter I received from the police department has that exact same penal code section on it, 849, a, b and c. Thanks for the response!

  19. #19
    hughb is offline Civilian
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    Quote Originally Posted by jato View Post
    In a detention, the person detained is not free to leave until the detention is over (determined by the Peace Officer). If you try and leave a detention, you can be arrested per PC 148 (a)(1).

    OK, thanks. I guess I really do watch too many cop shows. Good thing I didn't try to get up an leave. They probably wouldn't have bought it if I told them "Sipowicz says I'm free to go"!

  20. #20
    jato's Avatar
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    A lawful detention must meet the Reasonable Suspicion standard.

    Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard in United States law that a person; has been, is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts and inferences. It is the basis for an investigatory or Terry stop by the police and requires less evidence than probable cause, the legal requirement for arrests and warrants. Reasonable suspicion is evaluated using the "reasonable person" or "reasonable officer" standard, in which said person in the same circumstances could reasonably believe a person has been, is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity; such suspicion is not a mere hunch. Police may also, based solely on reasonable suspicion of a threat to safety, frisk a suspect for weapons, but not for contraband like drugs. A combination of particular facts, even if individually innocuous, can form the basis of reasonable suspicion.


    A lawful arrest must meet the Probable Cause standard.

    The most widely held common definition would be "a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed" and that the person is linked to the crime with the same degree of certainty.

 

 
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