Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

What Makes a Massachusetts Arrest Lawful?

A man in Boston was recently arrested in connection with eight unarmed robbery offenses that occurred between November 2019 to February 2020. Charging documents reveal that the man wore a black ski mask and black gloves during the robberies, during which he demanded cash from bank tellers. The man has been charged with two counts of interference with commerce through threats or violence and can end up facing a maximum of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 on each account.

Each year, Massachusetts law enforcement arrests many individuals for interference with commerce as well as many other criminal offenses. When Massachusetts law enforcement arrests a person, they deprive that individual of the fundamental right to freedom. Given the importance of the right to freedom, Massachusetts law enforcement must follow several requirements while making an arrest. 

Some arrest requirements also help to make sure that law enforcement does not make a mistake while making an arrest that could end up jeopardizing the outcome of a charge. While the exact nature of arrests changes slightly between Massachusetts police departments, this article discusses some of the most critical procedures that police must follow when making an arrest.

When Law Enforcement can Make Arrest

Law enforcement in Massachusetts is only permitted to make an arrest in limited circumstances, which include:

  • When law enforcement has a judge-issued arrest warrant

  • When law enforcement believes that the individual arrested committed a crime

  • When law enforcement personally observes a crime

It is not permissible for law enforcement to arrest someone merely because the police have a “hunch” that someone committed a criminal offense.

Arrest Procedures Law Enforcement Must Follow

Arrests occur when a person reasonably believes that he or she is no longer free to leave law enforcement’s custody. Law enforcement is not required to use handcuffs or place a person in a police vehicle, but law enforcement might engage in these activities to remain safe. While there is no requirement that law enforcement read a person’s Miranda Rights at the time of an arrest, the police must read a person these rights before an interrogation. 

As a result, many law enforcement offices will read a person their Miranda Rights at the time of that person’s arrest. Additionally, most police officers will inform a person about why they are being arrested, but Massachusetts law enforcement has no legal obligation to do so.

Excessive Force and Massachusetts Arrests

In addition to the previously mentioned requirements, law enforcement officers are also not permitted to use excessive force or cruelty when making an arrest. Most times, law enforcement officers are only permitted to use the minimum amount of force necessary to both protect themselves and bring the suspect into custody. By resisting an arrest, a person increases the degree of force that law enforcement might use. This is why it is rarely a good idea to resist an arrest.

Speak with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Massachusetts prosecutors take robbery offenses seriously To respond to these charges, it can help greatly to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.