Is a Cop Obligated to Tell You Why You're Being Arrested?


When it comes to an arrest, we all have certain scenarios or expectations in mind. We believe that when an officer pulls you over, they must tell you the exact cause of an arrest. Usually, in television, the officer tells the suspect of what they did wrong, reads them their Miranda rights, and then take them down to the station. However, this is not always the case. Although it is deemed “good police practice” to inform the suspect the reason behind the arrest, the constitution does not require officers to explicitly state why they are arresting someone.

An arrest occurs when the police have a reasonable cause to believe that an individual is in violation of the law or involved in a criminal activity. When the authorities stop someone to ask them questions, they are technically detaining them. During this incident, officers are not required to read you your Miranda rights. Therefore, if the officer were to take you to the station for a statement, but lets you know that it is not an arrest, your statement can be used in a trial, in most cases. However, if the officer does arrest you, they must alert you of your Miranda rights. This includes letting you know:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in the court of law
  • You have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, the court will appoint one

If an officer fails to read you your rights, any statement you make after the arrest can be discarded during a trial, if that occurs.

If a cop obtains an arrest warrant, they should inform you of the reason or show you the warrant in a timely manner. However, they do not necessarily have to show you the evidence exactly at the moment of the arrest. Remember that you do not have to say anything to the authorities without proper representation. According to Ohio law, though, if an officer stops you in a public space and asks you for your name, address, and date of birth, you are required to answer them.

At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, we believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. Everyone deserves their due process in the court of law. If you or a loved one has been arrested without proper evidence or procedure, we can help. Contact our Columbus criminal defense attorneys today for a case evaluation.