Just about everyone is familiar with arrests, but not everyone understands how the arrest process works. Generally, police officers must obtain arrest warrants (from a judge) before they can arrest someone and take them into custody.
However, a police officer has every right to arrest someone who commits a crime in the police officer’s presence. For example, if a police officer pulls someone over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and the driver blows well-above the .08% legal limit, then by all means, the officer can arrest the person on suspicion of DWI.
Police officers can also make arrests for crimes committed outside of their view in situations where they suspect is in a suspicious location, or when it appears as if the suspect just caused bodily injury to another person, or when there’s reason to believe the suspect will cause bodily injury to someone in the near future.
To illustrate: If the police are called to a home because the neighbors overheard a domestic dispute, and when the officers arrive, they see evidence of a violent altercation (stuff is knocked down everywhere) and the wife was clearly beaten, the officers can arrest the husband on the spot for family violence – they do not need a warrant.
Can Citizens Make Arrests?
You’ve probably heard of a “citizen’s arrest” on TV or in the movies. In Texas, private citizens are allowed to make arrests whenever an offense is either against the public peace, such as DWI, or when a felony was committed in the citizen’s presence.
Going further, if a citizen has knowledge of a theft, he or she can seize the stolen property and bring the property, along with the thief, before a police officer or a magistrate.
Rights of an Arrested Person in Texas
If someone is arrested, he or she must be taken before a magistrate (judge) within 48 hours of the arrest. At this time, the magistrate must inform the person of several things, such as: 1) what they are being accused of, 2) their right to an attorney, 3) their right to remain silent, and 4) their right to end interviews, etc.