Interactions with the police, unless you have called them, are often unnerving, particularly if you’re unsure of the reason why you’ve been stopped, ordered to stop, or pulled over for questioning. Most frightening of all is if you are actually arrested. Can they do that without a warrant? The short answer that is yes, they can—but only under certain circumstances.
Oklahoma Statute Title 22 §22-196 states that a police officer (peace officer) has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant:
- For a public offense, committed or attempted in the officer’s presence
- When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the officer’s presence
- When a felony has in fact been committed, and the officer has reasonable cause to believe the person arrested to have committed it
- On a charge, made upon reasonable cause, of the commission of a felony by the party arrested
- When the officer has probable cause to believe that the party was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle involved in an accident within this state, whether upon public roads, highways, streets, turnpikes, other public places, or upon any private road, street, alley or lane which provides access to one or more single- or multi-family dwellings and was under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor or who was under the influence of any substance included in the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act
- Anywhere, including a place of residence of the person, if the peace officer has probable cause to believe the person within the preceding seventy-two (72) hours has committed an act of domestic abuse as defined by Section 60.1 of this title, although the assault did not take place in the presence of the peace officer. A peace officer may not arrest a person pursuant to this section without first observing a recent physical injury to, or an impairment of the physical condition of, the alleged victim
- When a peace officer, in accordance with the provisions of Section 60.9 of this title, is acting on a violation of a protective order offense
- When the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has threatened another person as defined in subsection B of Section 1378 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes
Understanding probable cause
If you are caught red-handed by the police breaking into somebody’s house or punching someone in a brawl, there may be questions about why something happened, but probably not the fact that a crime occurred. However, if the police stop your car and smell marijuana, or find you running away from the scene of a robbery, they may have probable cause to make an arrest. The Supreme Court has defined probable cause as “facts and circumstances sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the (suspect) had committed or was committing an offense.”
Probable cause is more than a police officer’s “hunch” that a crime was or is about to be committed. There has to be sufficient reason for an arrest to be made. Anything less is a violation of your Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
We fight for your rights if you have been arrested without a warrant
If you’ve been arrested, don’t talk to the police until you’ve spoken to Norman, Oklahoma criminal defense attorney RJ Harris. Contact us online or call us at (405) 979-0179 to discuss your case and start protecting your rights.