Advanced Arrest, Search & Seizure (Lesson 12 of 31)
Reasonable Cause to Arrest (Actions Not Observed)
As with all arrests, an arrest under Penal Code Section 836 for a warrantless arrest must be based on reasonable cause. The officer must have reasonable cause to believe the person to be arrested has committed the offense in his presence or reasonable cause to believe the person has committed a felony whether or not in his presence.
- Reasonable Cause to Arrest Pursuant to Penal Code § 837 and the case of People v. Terry 2 Cal.3d 362, 393.
A search incident to a lawful arrest is valid. A peace officer may arrest a person without a warrant whenever he has “reasonable cause” to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony.
“Reasonable cause” is defined as that state of facts that would lead a man of ordinary care and prudence to believe and conscientiously entertain an honest and strong suspicion that the person is guilty of a crime.
No exact formula exists for determining “reasonable cause.” Each case must be decided on the facts and circumstances presented to the officer at the time he was required to act.
“Reasonable Cause” to arrest requires only a substantial chance of criminal activity. Actual criminal activity does not have to occur.
- “Reasonable Cause” and “Probable Cause” are the Same.
Cases which discuss whether or not an officer has made a valid arrest will sometimes refer to whether the officer had “reasonable cause” to make the arrest and other cases refer to whether the officer had “probable cause” to make the arrest. In the context of whether the police officer had the proper cause to make the arrest, the terms “reasonable cause” and “probable cause” are interchangeable. (See, People v. Knight (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 1568, 1573.) However, a “reasonable cause” for a security officer is a higher standard than mere probable cause for a police officer. In other words, you must have more articulable facts.
Use of Force In Making an Arrest
Penal Code Section 835
Regardless of whether the arrest is being made by a peace officer or a private person, the person making the arrest may only use that amount of force which is reasonable under the circumstances. (Penal Code §835.)
Penal Code §835 governs the method of making arrests and the amount of restraint allowed. Specifically, Penal Code §835 states:
“An arrest is made by an actual restraint of the person, whereby submission to the custody of an officer. The person arrested may be subjected to such restraint as is reasonable for his arrest and detention.”
In other words, the person making the arrest may only use that amount of force which is reasonably necessary for the arrest and detention of the suspect. Whether the force used is “reasonable” or not will depend upon the circumstances.
For example, Penal Code §843 states:
“When the arrest is being made by an officer under the authority of a warrant, after information of the intention to make the arrest, if the person to be arrested either flees of forcibly resists, the officer may use all necessary means to effect the arrest.”
Consequently, the amount of force that may be determined to be reasonable depends upon the circumstances of each case.
For example, there are different guidelines regarding reasonable force for : arrest pursuant to a warrant, reasonable force for a warrantless arrest, reasonable force for an arrest of a misdemeanant, and reasonable force used for a person suspected of committing a felony.
Furthermore, Penal Code Section 835 in regard to the use of force to effect an arrest, prevent escape or overcome resistance states:
“Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.”
“A peace officer who makes or attempts to make an arrest need not retreat or desist from his efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested; nor shall such officer be deemed an aggressor or lose his right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.”