In a previous post, we discussed the requirements that must be met for an officer to obtain an arrest warrant. In general, a police officer must obtain a warrant in order to arrest a person for an alleged crime. However, one might wonder whether there are times when a police officer can arrest a person without first obtaining a warrant?

While the following information is not legal advice, there are some circumstances in which an officer can make a warrantless arrest. According to New York statutes, a warrantless arrest may be allowed if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that an alleged crime has been committed in the officer’s presence. In addition, an officer can pursue the alleged perpetrator into a county adjoining the one in which the alleged crime was committed and arrest him or her there.

When it comes to petty offenses, however, an officer may only make a warrantless arrest if the officer believes that the offense occurred within the officer’s geographical jurisdiction or within 100 yards of the officer’s geographical jurisdiction and the arrest occurs in the same county in which the alleged offense occurred. However, the officer can pursue an individual into another county if the officer believes that the offense began in either the officer’s jurisdictional county or an adjoining county.

These are only two certain circumstances in which a warrantless arrest can be made, but there are others. No matter what the circumstances, officers must uphold all of a person’s constitutional rights when making an arrest. This is true whether the alleged crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. The failure to abide by such laws could result in the charges against the accused being dropped. In the end, although warrantless arrests can be made, there are many circumstances in which they are not allowed. A criminal defense attorney may be able to explain more about warrantless arrests.

Source:, Laws of New York