Can A Police Officer Make An Arrest Without A Warrant?

Can A Police Officer Make An Arrest Without A Warrant

The police do not have authority to make an arrest in Texas without a warrant, generally speaking. If they do make an arrest without a warrant, then the police must justify their actions. Evidence that was seized or statements that were subsequently made after an unlawful arrest may be suppressed, that is thrown out of court. Texas law also allows private citizens to make arrests in limited circumstances as well. Those charges may stick if done correctly. If not, then any evidence obtained as a result of your unlawful detention will the suppressed. If you were arrested without a warrant, call our law office today to schedule a free consultation.

The authority police have to make arrests is given to them by statute. A police officer may arrest any person who is subject to arrest by authority of the warrant. If a warrantless arrest is made, then police must justify their actions. An officer may make a warrantless arrest in many circumstances, as long as the circumstances fit in the statute. A police officer can make an arrest if he has probable cause to believe the person committed a crime and that person is in a suspicious place. This assumes the officer did not personally observe the crime. Probable cause is information leading a police officer to believe that a person is committing a crime or has committed a crime. Probable cause is more than “mere suspicion” but does not even amount to a preponderance of the evidence, let alone proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The rule strikes a balance between legitimate law enforcement procedures and keeping the public safe from making rash decisions. In reviewing whether an officer possessed probable cause to make an arrest, the judge will look at the “totality of the circumstances” of the situation.

Once the probable cause standard is satisfied, then the police may make an arrest without a warrant if the person is found in a suspicious place. What exactly suspicious is will be determined by the circumstances. If the crime involves a motor vehicle or the motor vehicle is used as a means to commit the crime, then the motor vehicle itself may be a suspicious place. Otherwise, a suspicious place may be the location where a crime occurred or where police believe a crime occurred. Additionally, the location where the suspect is or may be connected to is also a suspicious place. The suspect’s behavior will play a role in determining whether the place is suspicious. A person’s odd behavior may turn an innocuous location into a suspicious place because of that person’s conduct.

A police officer may make an arrest based upon probable cause in other circumstances. For instance, a police officer may arrest a person after an investigation for driving while intoxicated if the crime is in the view of the officer. The officer is not required to view every fact giving rise to probable cause to arrest. The officer may rely upon information from fellow officers working on the same investigation and who are members of the same agency to establish probable cause that a crime was committed.

Many other circumstances exist that allow police to make warrantless arrests. For instance, police are permitted to make arrests if they have probable cause to believe an assault was committed causing injuries and that the failure to arrest may result in additional injuries. Police are also permitted to arrest for violations of protective orders as well as in instances of family violence.

Who To Call If You Have Been Wrongfully Arrested

Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Brandon Fulgham fights every day to protect the rights of people wrongfully charged. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Fulgham knows when the police have made a mistake. If you have been arrested, call Attorney Fulgham at 817-764-1392 to set up an appointment. Attorney Fulgham will thoroughly review your case to find the best defenses for you.


1. Tx. Penal Code 14.01 et. seq.

2. State v. Romo, Tx. App. Ct. 2015

3. State v. Parson, 988 SW 2d 264 (Tx. App. Ct. 1998)