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An arrest happens when a person has been taken into custody by the local law enforcement. This can include removing a person’s freedom using forcible restraint (such as handcuffs) or by seizure, particularly after the person has been issued a warrant or based on probable cause that the person has committed a crime. It must be clear to the person that he or she is being arrested.

There are several different kinds of arrests in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

  • A citizen’s arrest is done by a person, and not by an officer of the law. This can only occur if a crime happened before the person making the arrest, or if the person making the arrest believes the person being arrested has caused a felony crime.
  • A false arrest is done by a person who impersonates an officer of the law, or by a law enforcement officer who arrests someone without having a legal reason to do so.
  • A malicious arrest happens when a person is arrested without a legal reason, and in particular, when a person is intentionally charged with a false charge.
  • A judge or a magistrate can issue a parole arrest during a court proceeding. It happens right away, such as when a person has been found in contempt of court and is arrested.
  • A pretextual arrest is one done for a minor crime while the person is investigated for his or her potential role in a more major crime.
  • A warrantless arrest is done publicly, without a warrant for the arrest. It happens when there is probable cause that the person should be charged with a felony crime or a misdemeanor observed by a police officer.
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