What to do When You are Arrested

by Srishti Arora | Wed May 01 2019

Arrest is said to have taken place when a person is seized and taken into legal custody by authority of law. It can be done in two ways - with a warrant and without a warrant. A warrant is issued by a judge or a magistrate on behalf of the state to order arrest or detention of a person. When a police department has sufficient grounds to believe that a person is involved in a crime, a judge or magistrate is approached to issue a warrant. A person should always remember that there are certain rights available to him on being arrested and the police officer also has certain duties to ensure that the arrest is as per law. Therefore, you should never lose your calm under police pressure when you are arrested and take advantage of your rights.

Arrest Without Warrant

It can be done because of following reasons: 

  • person has been part of any cognizable offence. Here the police officer has authority to arrest without a warrant. There are certain offences listed as cognizable offences such as murder, kidnapping, and waging of war

  • reasonable complaint has been made or reliable information has been received because of which a suspicion exists that the person has committed the offence

  • person who has been declared as an offender by law or the State Government

  • A person is found in possession of something which may reasonably be suspected to be a stolen property and the person has some connection to it

  • A person obstructs a police officer in discharging his duties or escapes or attempts to escape from lawful custody

  • A person is a deserter from any of the Armed Forces of the Union

  • A person refuses to give his correct name and residential address to the police officer, or gives the name and address that is likely to be false; he can be arrested to get the correct information. Such a person will be released after necessary information is obtained

  • A released convict commits a breach of the rules

Arrest with Warrant

Certain offences like defamation, bribery, and cheating have been classified as non cognizable offences and an arrest cannot be made without a warrant. These offences are  not considered immediately serious in nature and a warrant can be issued if:

  • A person who is summoned by the court neglects or fails to turn up before it on the stipulated date

  • When the police officer has sufficient factual information to establish probably cause that a crime was committed by a particular person

If you are arrested, it means you cannot leave the custody and might be held for some time for questioning, or longer if there are reasonable grounds to believe that you might be engaged in a crime. Additionally, apart from a police officer, arrest can be made by a private person and Magistrate as well, if an offence has been committed in their presence. The private person is supposed to take you to the nearest police station and Magistrate will commit you to custody.

Rights of Women

As per law, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise unless under exceptional circumstances. Under such exceptional circumstances, a female police officer will obtain the permission of Judicial Magistrate of the first class within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed, or arrest is to be made by making a written report. Also, if you are a woman, there needs to be a female constable present at the time of arrest or else the male officer cannot touch you for making the arrest. These measures have been adopted because often women’s modesty was abused during police arrest in the past. Women are to be kept in separate lockups as well. A woman can refuse arrest during the prohibited time.

Rights Available to an Arrested Person

If you are arrested, you have the following rights:

  1. Memo of arrest: The police officer conducting the arrest shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of the arrest, and such memo should be attested by at least one witness, who may either be your family member or a respectable person of the locality from where the arrest is made. It shall also be counter signed by you and shall contain the time and date of arrest.

  2. Right to know the grounds of arrest: If an arrest has been made without a warrant, you have the right to know the grounds of arrest or full particulars of the offence for which you are being arrested. This will enable you to remove any mistake, misapprehension or misunderstanding in the minds of the arresting authority and the procedure will go on properly. 

  3. Right to remain silent: The police officials try to extract information from the arrested person by asking different questions. But you have the right to remain silent as any reply might be used against you in the court of law. 

  4. Right to lawyer/counsel: You have the right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned and the right to consult your lawyer before speaking anything. If a person is unable to afford alawyer, the court appoints one for them.

  5. Information of arrest to a friend or relative: If you are arrested and being held in custody in a police station, you are entitled to have one friend or relative or any other person known to you or having interest in your welfare informed, as soon as possible, that you have been arrested and are being detained at the particular place or police station, unless the attesting witness of the memo of arrest is himself such a friend or a relative of yours. If the friend or relative of yours lives outside the district or town, then the time, place of arrest and venue of custody will be informed by the police officer through the Legal Aids Organization of the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.

  6. Examinations to any injury: If you want, you can request for physical examination to properly record any minor or major injuries at the time of arrest.

  7. Medical examination: You should be subjected to medical examination by trained doctor every 48 hours during the police custody, who is on the panel of approved doctorappointed by the Director of Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory

  8. Right to be taken to a Magistrate without delay: You should be presented before the Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest which does not include the travel time.You cannot be held in police custody beyond this time without orders from a Magistrate.

  9. Information regarding bail: If the offence for which you are arrested is bailable, the police officer shall inform you that you are entitled to being released on bail, so that you can arrange for the same.

Duties of the Police Officer

  1. To inform you what are the rights available to you.

  2. The police officers carrying out the arrest and interrogation should have accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags with their designations which should be recorded in the register as well. 

  3. An entry must be made in the diary at the place of arrest which shall disclose the name of the next friend or relative who has been informed of the arrest and the names of the police officials in whose custody you are

  4. Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.

  5. A police control room should be provided at all district and state headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody shall be communicated, within 12 hours of the arrest and this information should be displayed on a clearly visiblenotice board at the police control room.


People are often not aware of their rights in case they are arrested and that often leads to manipulation by the police officials. Arrested persons are not able to keep calm under pressure and say things which are used against them later in court. It is the duty of the police officer to make aware the arrested person of his rights and act according to the law.


  • Criminal

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