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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13752
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I have a general question about something. I actually asked

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I have a general question about something. I actually asked a question earlier but I forgot to ask this as well.

Is it true that in general, for someone to be arrested for a misdemeanor, the crime has to happen in the presence of an officer? I know this doesn't apply to violent crimes or theft, but I was wondering if this is generally a rule.

In other words, could an officer (who didn't personally witness a crime) arrest someone for public drunkenness or prostitution solicitation weeks after the crime happened?
Thank you for your question.

No, police do not necessarily need to witness the crime -there would have to just be sufficient probable cause for them to make an arrest, and then of course, sufficient probable cause for a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

For example, a person drives drunk and gets into a car accident. No one saw him drive drunk, but when the police arrive, he is falling all over himself, there is an open container in the car, and he smells of alcohol. There is sufficient probable cause to arrest even though the driving and accident wasn't witnessed.

With something like drunk in public, there would have to be witnesses, and preferably something like a video recording, since witness testimony isn't necessarily reliable and it can come down to one person's word versus another. Prostitution solicitation would generally have to be witnessed by a police officer or be part of a sting operation, because outside of that, neither the "john" nor the person selling themselves for sex is going to go to the police and report that -so while I won't say it's IMPOSSIBLE not to be arrested for your examples weeks later, I will says it is highly improbable.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Robert. The reason I asked this is because of the following:


I very stupidly patronized a massage parlor a few weeks ago (receiving a handjob), and it's possible that the place may have been under police surveillance. I guess I'm just a little worried about having officers show up to my house to either 1) arrest me or 2) threaten me with jail if I don't give them information to incriminate the business. In the second scenario, I wouldn't be arrested, but I would be "outed", since trials etc are public record.


If the 2nd scenario were to occur, I would respectfully XXXXX XXXXX speak with officers. Is it reasonable to assume that they could then pursue charges on myself?

If there were some way to identify you, yes, and police had probable cause -that is, at least a reasonable suspicion that you had committed a crime. For example, if you are on video, and you paid with a credit card at the massage parlor, they may be able to put two and two together and find you.

You are not obligated to speak with the police should they want to question you or if you were to be arrested. You have the right to remain silent.
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