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The following is for informational purposes only

"Hot Pursuit" Arrest Overview

When a police officer has reasonable grounds (or a "probable cause") based on their knowledge of circumstances and facts, that someone has committed or is about to commit a criminal act, the officer may arrest that person without a warrant. This situation is also called a "hot pursuit" arrest. In other words, having "reasonable grounds" is more serious than a suspicion, hunch or a guess. It means having a good reason for believing something and any fair-minded person in the same situation would think in the same way.


Reasonable Grounds

Reasonable Grounds

"Reasonable grounds" could result from diverse facts and beliefs that involve the following:

  • Someone who nearly or has already committed a serious crime;
  • Causing or is about to cause trouble in a public place;
  • A suspect who would escape unless they’re arrested on the spot;
  • Stopping someone from engaging in a terrorist act;
  • Destroying or altering evidence, unless arrested instantly;
  • A mentally ill person who is considered a danger to themselves or the public;
  • Someone who could instantly harm someone or damage a property;
  • There’s not a large time gap between the arrest and the time when the crime was committed (otherwise, a warrant would be needed).

Reasonable Suspicion

"Reasonable suspicion" is a lawful standard of evidence that’s less than "probable cause", but more than an "unparticular hunch or suspicion". It’s established based on "exact and articulable facts" and must be connected to the person about to be arrested. When a police offer has reasonable suspicion that someone they detained is armed and dangerous, they might "frisk" the suspect for weapons only (not for drugs). Reasonable Suspicion is based 100% on the "reasonable officer" or "reasonable person" standard.


"Detention" Short of Arrest

Temporary "detentions" rely on "reasonable suspicion" alone. It’s the case of car or pedestrian stops, or of residents if the police must execute a search warrant where those residents live. Detention can easily evolve into arrest with the line between the two being unclear. However, if a person who has been arrested suspects a legal cause for their arrestwas missing, they could pursue a civil lawsuit for malicious prosecution or false arrest.


Warrantless "Terry stop"

Although suspects have no legal obligation to identify themselves if a police officer asks, some surrounding events could indicate a probable cause for arrest. In this case, the officer could pursue a warrantless search, known as a "Terry frisk" or "Terry stop" which keeps officers safe from suspects with concealed firearms.


Exigent Circumstances

Exigent Circumstances

In the following "exigent" situations, the police can make awarrantless in-home arrests, searches and seizures without having to wait for a warrant either:

  • The police officer rings the door bell and is let inside by someone who lives there;
  • The police officer is in hot pursuit of an escaping suspect who runs into a house;
  • The police officer believes that someone living at a certain address is in imminent danger.

To determine whether pressing conditions justified police conduct, a court must evaluate the gravity of the crime, its circumstances, and whether the suspect was escaping or trying to escape. The circumstances must indicate an emergency, for instance screams heard, shots fired, or fire comingfrom inside a building.


Custody Rights

From the time you are under arrest until you’re released from custody, you have the following rights:

  • To stay silent;
  • Have legal help and a lawyer;
  • Interpretation and translation;
  • Inform someone else that you are at the police station;
  • Reasonable conditions (accommodation and regular meals).

Ending Custody: Suspect is Charged or Released

Ending Custody: Suspect is Charged or Released

Based on the evidence they have against someone, when custody ends, the police can do any of the following:

  • Charge the suspect with a crime – the suspect remains in custody;
  • Charge but release the suspect with the condition to appear in court at a later date ("an undertaking");
  • Charge and release the suspect without an undertaking;
  • Release the suspect- when they’re no longer suspected of committing a crime;
  • Release yet pending more enquiries –the arrested person is still a suspect but the policemust investigate more;
  • Release with conditions as a suspect –also known as"investigative liberation".

The latter restricts suspect’s freedom for up to 28 days, for instance they’ll not be allowed to speak to certain people or go to some places indicated by the police.

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