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Arrest- Fairfax criminal lawyer on challenging detentions every time

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Police love making arrests. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that police are not only to look to prosecute for the arrest itself, but also to possibly find contraband on the arrestee that will enable further criminal charges. Police are also going to look for behavior that will allow for additional criminal charges, including resisting arrest (part of the broader category of the crime of obstruction of justice) and assault on police.


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Police will go out of their way to arrest for even minor crimes

For the foregoing reasons, police find it all the more worthwhile to detain for even such an otherwise minor crime as intoxicated in public (which is not jailable if convicted, but finds arrestees held awhile before release), because such an arrest permits the police to search the pockets and remainder of the arrestee’s clothing incident to arrest, and because sometimes the suspect will physically resist an arrest, verbally threaten the police officer, or assault the officer, thus turning a mere intoxicated in public charge in to the possibility of even more criminal charges.

In the foregoing context, an October 4, 2017, United States Supreme Court oral argument about a dragnet trespassing arrest is of particular importance. In District of Columbia v. Wesby, No. 15-1485 (oral argument transcript here), the justices seemed to split — at least with the liberals leaning towards the arrestees– about whether police had Fourth Amendment probable cause nearly two dozen partiers for alleged unlawful entry into what turned out to be a vacant home, but where the partiers could well have believed that the inviting person owned the home or had permission from the owner to hold the party.

The Supreme Court this term will decide about an arrest of partiers for trespassing

Questions by the justices seeking specifics were many, and the event seems to have boiled down to an alleged unlicensed floating strip club and possibly unlawful sex for hire, where the attendees hid when the police arrived.

A key here was whether police may determine for themselves whether partygoers at a vacant home need to analyze beyond the party invitation, whether the partiers have permission from the home’s owner to be at the home. Among the factual issues heavily addressed was the hiding of the attendees. However, does the hiding mean consciousness of not being allowed on the premises, or more wanting to remain anonymous (and to remain unknown to the partiers’ family and loved ones) or not to be arrested for other types of unlawful activity, including engaging in sex for hire?

Wesby may provide further insight on limits of police authority to arrest on a probable cause determination

Wesby is a civil lawsuit alleging an unlawful arrest, but the outcome of the case may help further define police limits or not in determining probable cause to arrest under the Fourth Amendment. The case will be decided by mid-2018.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jon Katz defends a wide range of felony and misdemeanor cases. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff for a confidential appointment.