arrest n[Middle French arest , from arester to stop, seize, arrest, ultimately from Latin ad to, at + restare to stay]
: the restraining and seizure of a person whether or not by physical force by someone acting under authority (as a police officer) in connection with a crime in such a manner that it is reasonable under the circumstances for the person to believe that he or she is not free to leave see also miranda warnings probable cause at cause , warrant compare stop
: an arrest made not by a law officer but by any citizen who derives the authority to arrest from the fact of being a citizen NOTE: Under common law, a citizen may make an arrest for any felony actually committed, or for a breach of the peace committed in his or her presence.
: the arrest and detention of a defendant in a civil suit until he or she posts bail or pays the judgment see also capias ad respondendum NOTE: Civil arrest is restricted or prohibited in most states.
: an arrest of a person accompanied by or followed by taking the person into custody
: an arrest made without legal authority called also unlawful arrest NOTE: If a person is taken into custody, no matter how briefly, a false arrest is also false imprisonment.
: the arrest of a person for a minor crime (as a traffic violation) for the real purpose of getting an opportunity to investigate (as through a search) the person's possible involvement in a more serious crime for which there are no lawful grounds to make an arrest called also pretextual arrest
: false arrest in this entry
: in the condition of being restrained under legal authority
vt : to place under arrest
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.