All About Legal Detention In Massachusetts

Laws exist to protect the people of a state. The concept of legality is clearly defined by a state and is enforced by law enforcement units that are given the power to maintain peace and order. 

However, the law is never perfect, and in some instances, run-ins with it have proven to be difficult to deal with—and even be downright unjust! This is why a criminal defense attorney is essential for dealing with potential crimes that an individual is being charged with. 

About Legal Detention by Law Enforcement

Law enforcement may have instances where they will hold an individual and deny them the ability to leave, but they also state that the person is not in official police custody. This brings up a few questions about the legality of detention by a law enforcement officer if they are not officially placing someone under arrest. If a person isn’t being arrested for a crime, then they are ideally legally allowed to leave. 

Can The Police Hold You From Leaving Without Putting You Under Arrest?

In Massachusetts, as well as all other states in America, arresting someone is clearly defined under the law. If a person feels that they are not allowed to leave a police station, they are practically considered under arrest. If they hold an individual from leaving without placing the person under arrest, this is a violation of the person’s rights. 

Police may try to justify their temporary hold on someone while stating that they are not arresting them but require them to stay until they obtain a warrant of arrest. No matter how the attending officers try to skirt around the law, not allowing someone to leave a police station means that the person is under arrest as per Massachusetts law. 

What Exactly Constitutes an Official Arrest?

Arresting an individual means that police officers will take an individual into custody against their will if they are needed to be interrogated or prosecuted for a crime committed. This means that the person taken into custody cannot leave freely, and the term “arrest” does not have to be used to consider the person arrested. 

In Court, the standard of the “reasonable man” will be utilized to dictate whether a person was under arrest. Through an assessment of whether or not the person had the right to leave the station, the Court will be able to consider if the person was under arrest or not. 

Always Remember Constitutional Rights

Even if a person has been suspected of committing a crime, these people have constitutional rights that cannot be taken away. Any person may not be held at a police station if not placed under arrest. If someone is detained without being placed under arrest, this is an illegal act by law enforcement and can be punishable by law. 

Additionally, a valid search and arrest warrant will be needed to detain an individual. When a law enforcement officer holds an individual without arresting them, then it is a violation of a person’s constitutional rights. 

Dismissal of a Case

Refusing to let a person go but not arresting the person can lead to the case dismissed if it reaches Court. There are many defenses to detainment that are unlawful by the police, and any gross violation of the constitutional rights of a person can provide the foundation for dismissal. Consulting a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts will assist you in getting your name cleared. 


Unlawful detention is a violation of a person’s constitutional rights, and these are rights that must be respected by law enforcement as a standard of operation. If you feel like you have been a victim of illegal detention, contact your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to take necessary action. 

Are you looking for the best criminal lawyers in Boston? At The Fernandez Firm, we offer the best services when it comes to cases of criminal law in Boston, Massachusetts. If you are looking for a dedicated and passionate attorney who will fight for your case and protect your rights, call us now!