What is the Difference Between Being Arrested vs. Detention in Wyoming?

In criminal law, people often make the mistake of thinking that being arrested is the same as being detained. While both involve interaction with police, an arrest means that you are charged with a crime while a detention is merely a moment of questioning by police. Regardless of whether you are detained or arrested, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced Sheridan criminal defense attorney.

What does it mean to be arrested?

Typically, “being arrested by police” involves being handcuffed, read your Miranda Rights and taken into police custody. Police may arrest you under two specific circumstances:

      1. With probable cause — When there is sufficient reason, based on facts, to believe that a person has engaged in criminal activity, an officer has probable cause. A requirement of the Fourth Amendment, probable cause must be reached in most cases before police can make an arrest, perform a search, or obtain a warrant. If law enforcement observes a person committing a crime in their presence, they may make an arrest. For example, if police pull your vehicle over for a traffic stop and you are visibly drunk, they have the right to arrest you.
      2. With a warrant — If police receive a warrant from a judge, they have the right to arrest you. However, to obtain a warrant, police must present a written affidavit to a judge explaining that there is enough evidence to indicate that you have committed a criminal offense. The police may make application for a warrant over the phone in some circumstances.

No matter if police arrest you with or without a warrant, you are in serious trouble and you need experienced legal help. A skilled defense attorney can swiftly protect your rights and help you build a solid defense that protects your rights, future, and freedom.

What is a police detention?

If law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that you have engaged in criminal behavior or are about to commit a crime, they may “detain” you. A detainment is not like an arrest — you are not charged with a crime. If police observe you acting suspiciously, they may detain you and ask you questions. Since Wyoming is not a stop and identify state, you are not required to answer any questions. Politely ask if you are free to go. If police do not intend to arrest you, you may walk away. Police also have the right to pat down your outer clothing if they suspect you may have a weapon.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney

Davis & Cannon, LLP, has fought zealously for the rights of Wyoming clients for more than three decades. To schedule a consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer today, call (307) 672-7491 or contact us online.