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Can Police Arrest Someone Without a Warrant?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

May 5, 2021

Law enforcement officials do not always need a warrant to arrest someone. Some instances allow for a warrantless arrest. Florida Statutes § 901.15 enumerates the circumstances when it’s lawful for officers to take someone into custody before the court has issued an arrest warrant.

Below are the situations in which warrantless arrests are allowed in Florida:

  • In the presence of an officer: If the officer observed the commission of the alleged offense – whether a felony or a misdemeanor – they may make a warrantless arrest. For misdemeanors, the arrest must have been made immediately or in fresh pursuit.
  • Reasonable belief: If law enforcement officials receive a report of a felony being committed and they have a reasonable belief that a certain individual was the one who carried out the offense, an arrest warrant is not necessary.
  • Warrant held by another officer: There may be a situation in which an arrest warrant has been issued for a person but the law enforcement official making the arrest does not hold it. If another officer has the warrant for execution, a different officer can still make the arrest even though they don’t have the actual document.
  • Violation of State Uniform Traffic Control Laws: An officer who observes a violation of chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes may make a warrantless arrest.
  • Violation of a protective order: An officer can arrest someone without a warrant when they have probable cause to believe that the individual possessed a firearm while under a domestic violence injunction or violated a domestic violence or protective injunction.
  • Domestic or dating violence committed: When an officer has probable cause to believe that an individual has committed domestic or dating violence, they can make a warrantless arrest. They can do this even if the alleged victim objects to such action.
  • Child abuse committed: A warrantless arrest is lawful when an officer has probable cause to believe that an individual has committed child abuse.
  • Commission of specific offenses: Police can arrest someone without a warrant when there is probable cause to believe that any of the following has been committed:
    • Battery
    • Criminal mischief
    • Safety or security zone violation
    • Racing
    • Exposure of sexual organs
  • Probable cause by another law enforcement official: If a law enforcement official from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Military has observed the commission of a misdemeanor, a Florida officer may make a warrantless arrest upon receiving a signed affidavit from the other official.
  • Commission of a crime on state military property: A member of the Florida National Guard may arrest someone without a warrant when they have probable cause to believe an offense was committed on or they observed an offense being committed on state military property.
  • Violation of pretrial release: If someone was released from custody after being arrested for dating or domestic violence, and they violated a condition of pretrial release, a police officer can make a warrantless arrest.
  • Trespass on restricted areas: Police officers have the authority to arrest someone without a warrant when the individual was in a restricted area and signs were posted indicating that trespassing was forbidden.
  • Act of violence committed against certain individuals: Any person who assaults a law enforcement official, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, public transit employee, or other protected workers may be subject to a warrantless arrest.
  • Sexual cyberharassment: Any person who disseminates a sexually explicit image without the other individual’s consent may be arrested without a warrant.

Under Florida Statutes § 901.24, if a person has been arrested, they have the right to speak with an attorney about their case.

At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our Miami team is ready to provide sound legal representation from your arrest until the conclusion of your case. Call us at (305) 330-1360 or contact us online today.