Legal Question in Criminal Law in Virginia

My girlfriend states that in Virginia a person can take out an arrest warrant on another person for any reason (alleged illegal action), and that person will automatically be arrested. She said a judge does not have to issue a warrant or anything. you are arrested first, then you go to court later regarding the charge. For example she said a person could hit themselves, call police and take out a warrant on another person claiming them for assault, and that person is arrested without question. Then LATER that person goes to court to prove they didnt do it. more or less saying you have to PROVE your innocence. this sounds totally outrageous but i wanted to ask the question here and get an answer proving that is not true.

Asked on 11/14/13, 9:31 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

No, your girlfriend is simply WRONG. i.e., there first must be a credible case

for what's called PROBABLE CAUSE made out that an arrestable crime has been committed and that a particular identifiable person has committed it before law enforcement authorities may arrest such a person and take him or

her into custody.

And, if perchance law enforcement authorities mess up and arrest someone without thIs necessary PROBABLE CAUSE described above, that they then could be liable to this innocent person for substantial civil damages.

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Answered on 11/24/13, 10:13 am

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