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Are You Arrested or Detained?

by Layla Bryant

One common question people have when they are stopped by police is whether they are arrested or detained. In most cases, an arrest begins with a detention. So what's the difference, especially when you are accused of driving while intoxicated or under the influence? This guide will help you understand.

What Should You Do to Determine the Difference?

If you believe you are detained, you should use your voice to ask if you are free to leave. The officers will tell you if you are detained, arrested, or free to leave. If you are free to leave, it is wise to leave and avoid saying much more. At the same time, make sure to keep your cool and remain as calm as possible. When you ask politely, you may find that the reception of your question is taken more positively.

When Are You Detained?

Detainment occurs before an arrest or release. For instance, you might be detained at a DWI or DUI checkpoint. You will be asked questions and assessed before you are detained further, arrested, or cleared to continue moving.

The length of time during which you are detained can vary based on the circumstances. Usually, you are detained for just a few moments while an officer runs your license or gives you a field sobriety test. Other times, you may be detained longer.

When Are You Arrested?

You are arrested typically when you are handcuffed and taken to a police station. You will also be read your Miranda rights, and you will be advised that you can hire an attorney. In the case of a DWI, hiring an attorney is very important.

When Can You Be Detained?

You may be detained by police if you are suspected of committing criminal activity. Officers must have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. Based on the officer's training and experience, they should be able to perceive that you are a suspect. This must be based on perceived facts.

What If You Are Arrested?

If you are arrested, you will become part of the legal system. You may be bailed out, and you may consult with a DWI attorney who can help you through the process of setting up your case so you can come out stronger. If you do not already have an attorney, you should consult with one right away to ensure you have the strongest possible case moving forward.

For more information on what you should do if you are arrested or detained for a DWI, consult a DWI attorney in your area.