Legal Question in Criminal Law in Arizona

So here is a question that I have been pondering for some time now and will draw out a scenerio that would be probable

A resident of an apartment complex recieves permision from the manager of the complex to access the roof to repair a faulty satalite dish on the weekend.

The weekend arrives, the apartment managers office is closed and the resident goes to the roof to begin repairs.

An overly zealous tenant calls the police stating that someone is on the roof stealing copper from AC units.

Police arrive and signals the resident to come down from the roof and the resident complies.


The police requests I.D. from the resident.

The Resident responds by stating that he has no I.D.

The police ask the resident for his full name and the resident complies

The police now ask for the residents date of birth.

The resident rufeses but offers a recent bill addressed to him to show that he lives at the complex.

(Under Arizona Law, A.R.S. 13-2412, it is only required that a citizen provides there full legal name only)

I know that the police are able to run a check for wants and warrants as they are public records and we assume the police do just this.

Now that the resident has identified himself and has shown reasonable proof that he lives there, there is nothing the police could charge him with. Correct???

From my understanding;

it is private property and the resident has shown proof that he does live there.

resident has provided full name required under the law.

the overly zealous tennant that called them is no where to be found to support a claim of vandalism/theft.

There is no evidence to support any claim of vandalism or theft of copper.

may question is then, am I correct in my understandings? there would be nothing more the police could do.

Asked on 8/14/13, 8:28 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Brian Strickman Strickman Law Office, PLLC

I assume you are the same person that asked this question previously. Unless you know what this person was actually detained for, you are making false assumptions. Just because this person is a resident of the complex gives him absolutely no presumptive right to be on the roof. If the officer at the time had no access to confirm he was lawfully on the roof the resident could still be detained for trespassing. Further, as I mentioned previously, do we know that this person did not have an outstanding warrant? Do you know if this person was ever charged with anything or was he simply detained and released? There are many other factors here. Also remember an officer does not need a warrant to arrest, they simply need probable cause. Probable cause is both subjective and objective, and officers are very good at showing they had probable cause, even if the average citizen might not believe it. Remember the ability to arrest someone does not mean there is enough evidence to convict the person.

If your interested in figuring out how the officer could detain the person you really need to find out what he was detained/arrested for and if he was charged. Remember one resident of a complex can steal from another, this officer could have very well felt that was going on. Everyone's perspective is different, and officers are great at justifying their perspectives. However, we could hypothesize all day.

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Answered on 8/14/13, 10:49 pm

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