What Are Your Rights When Authority Invites Or Arrests You?


Oftentimes, we witness the sudden “you’re under arrest” scenes in movies. However, that can also happen in real life. Now that our Dear President is done making the authority powerful in terms of arresting, it’s just right to know your rights if in any case it happens to you. Imagine doing your thing in a normal day and all of a sudden, a police officer says you’re under arrest; what would you do? First things first; before knowing what to do, you of course need to know your rights. What rights do you have? What are the things you can do if that scenario happens? And lastly, what actions can you take after being invited by authorities?

So, can police officers just force you to come with them in police offices? Can they just simply tell everyone they need to come with them?

Firstly, when can police officers make an arrest?

Of course, authorities also know what they are capable of and under what circumstances can they perform. A police officer or any private person can make an arrest anytime at any given date by virtue of a Warrant of Arrest which is issued by the court. If in case a warrant of arrest is missing, police officers or a private person can make an arrest under the following conditions:

  • When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
  • When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
  • When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement area to another.

What are your rights as a person and as a citizen of the Philippines?

You have the right to refuse to join them

If you’re just walking around and a police officer says you’re under arrest, you have the right to refuse joining them. Without a warrant, the reason for your arrest is abstract and therefore, you have the right to refuse their invitation. However, if an individual commits a crime that is punishable by law and the police officer himself witnesses it, they can arrest you without any warrants.

You have the right to know why you’re being arrested

Of course, you wouldn’t want to be arrested without knowing what you did. You can ask that certain police officer why they’re inviting you to the nearest police station. Always remember that you have right to ask what you’re up against; you have the right to know what complaints are filed to you.

You have the right to remain silent and not write or sign anything (Miranda rights)

Everyone knows the Miranda rights. If not, this is the statement a police officer says when they’re arresting someone. The Miranda rights include that you have the right to remain silent and to not write or sign anything. Since this is the case, you have the option to ask what is being held accountable by you and why you’re being arrested or just remain silent until you reach an area where you can speak to a head police officer.

You have the right to call your family or a family member

When emergency is right around the corner, you are not held back and imprisoned not to speak with someone else. Yes, if these situations happen, you ALWAYS have the right to call an immediate family member. This way, your peers can be aware on what happened and they would know the following actions they can take,

You have the right to speak to and get an attorney

Just like the previous right, this is also included in the Miranda rights stated by the police officer. Of course, you need someone who is backed by the law to support you in the scenario. If you’re not someone who is capable of speaking the law, you have the right and capacity to contact someone who is. However;

If financially incapable, you have the right to get an attorney without paying for anything

Yes, if you are incapable of getting an attorney for some reasons, you have the right to secure an attorney without paying. However, I am just not sure if you are to pay as the case goes on. One thing’s for sure: you will and have to get an attorney who would embody you throughout the case.

You have the right to refuse to be taken a photo

Nowadays, taking photos is just like a snap. It can be instant and it can be done stealthily. Although this is the case, you have the full right to refuse to be taken a photo.

You have the right to refuse to be taken fingerprints

In addition to the photo-taking, you also have the right not to give away your fingerprints. This is kind of an invasion of privacy scene and it’s not allowed.

You have the right to refuse to undergo a physical examination

Physical examinations are usually done to ensure that a person is drug-free and is functioning properly. However, it is an individual’s right to refuse this especially if there is not probable cause. A police officer can’t just force you to undergo a physical examination, no, no.

You have the right to refuse to be frisked

Despite the fact that they are police officers and it’s they’re job to ensure everything is in place, they can’t just always feel or frisk anybody. You have the utmost right to refuse to be frisked especially if you’re in a public place or if it is irrelevant.

You have the right to refuse to have your bag checked

Furthermore, you can also refuse to have your things checked in the most unearthly reasons. If a police officer asks you to drop everything because they will check your things, you have the right to refuse it.

Reglementary Period

If a police officer arrests you without a warrant, the following are the reglementary periods. If the time falls or it exceeds the alloted time, it is already considered illegal:

Twelve (12) hours – This time is for crimes or offenses that are punishable by light penalties:

  • Malicious Mischief

Eighteen (18) hours – This however, is the type of offenses that wouldn’t exceed 6-year imprisonment

  • Theft

Thirty-six (36) hours – this type of crime is the crime that is illegal and would exceed 6-year imprisonment. This is also the type of crimes that are punishable by death

  • Murder
  • Illegal Drug Cases

Now that you are very much aware on the rights, actions, and reglementary periods, you are now armed with public knowledge. You’re now equipped with knowledge so no one, even a police officer can just  force you to come with them in prison. You know now your rights, what you can do, and if the police officer can legally assist you in a police station.

Sources: PNP

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