Does the arresting officer have to tell you "on what charge"?

This is in nearly every dramatic TV arrest: “You are under arrest” “On what charge?” “Murder”

Do they have to tell you, or can they just read you your rights and start putting you in their police car?

And would it matter if they got it wrong?
Say a guy in a mask with a sack is cornered by a man’s dog in the back yard. The man calls the police. The charge may be burglary, attempted burglary, trespass, malicious mischief, attempted dognapping…

From commen knowledge takin from TV cop shows. :smiley:

Before they can “book you” into jail they have to charge you with something. They can hold you for a reasonable amount of time on suspicion of a crime while they investigate. The length of reasonable being eventually decided by a judge. It does not have to be right at the scene of the purported crime. Sometimes they arrest unconscious people and handcuff them to a hospital gurney and charge them when they wake up. YMMV. IANAL.

Based on previous threads here with posts by lawyers and cops:
It is customary, but no mandatory, for a suspect to hear his charges upon or shortly after arrest.
Legally, you need not be told 'til arraignment.
The above is for persons accused of crimes in the US. It does not discuss unlawful combatants, which would be a topic for another.

IIRC one can be held for up to 48 hours without charge but I couldn’t name the SCOTUS case that established this as the standard.

In California a defendant is not required to be informed of the nature of the charges (Pen Code 988; In Re Mitchell (1961) 56 C2D 667) until his arraignment which must occur for an in-custody defendant no more than 2 calendar days after arrest (excluding sundays and holidays) (Cal. Const art I; Pen Code 825 and 849). Often a person can bail out earlier on a charge but that does not mean that the DA cannot change the charge when actually iling. The police do not charge crimes. They arrest you on suspicion of a crime. The DA actually files charges which may or may not be the same as the charges an individual was arrested for. For example a person may be arrested for theft but the DA may review it and decide that Burglary is a more appropriate charge. You may have bailed out on the lesser theft bail but you could be re-arrested when you show up to the arraignment and the DA has filedthe more serious burglary charge.

The sixth amendment requires that defendants be given notice of the crimes which they are accused, but there’s no federal case law that I’m aware of that specifies how quickly that notice must be given. That’s left up to the states. In Barker v Wingo , SCOTUS provided some parameters to the amendment’s vague requirement for a speedy trial. I don’t believe the 48 hour rule is universal from state to state.

In general, the purposes of the sixth amendment’s provision that defendants be notified of the charges against them are to a) help them prepare for trial and b) to prohibit them from being convicted of a crime for which they weren’t charged. SCOTUS has weighed in on these issues repeatedly, most notably Potter v US and U.S. v Carll

Found it, I think. If I’m reading this right, GERSTEIN v. PUGH, 420 U.S. 103 (1975) established that the Fourth Amendment requires that detainees are entitled to a “prompt” judicial finding of probable cause and COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE v. McLAUGHLIN, 500 U.S. 44 (1991) put forth the 48 hour rule under some circumstances:

So, um, yeah, that clears things right up.

What if you’re being held as a material witness like Jose Padilla?

So, putting all of these pieces together:

Cop arrests suspect but has no constitutional obligation to advise him of the reason. The arrestee is entitled in the absence of extraordinary circumstances to a probable cause hearing within 48 hours of the arrest. Presumably, then, the longest that someone could go under normal circumstances without knowing the charges is 48 hours, yes?

Excluding Sunday’s and Holiday’s.
ETA: In California the probable cause determination may be made prior to the Arraignment and there is no requirement that the defendant be present.

Sundays and holidays.

But (emphasis mine in following quote)

So do Sundays count?

Got it. Thanks. Feel better?

And it is not unusual for an arrest to be made on small or incidental charges (e.g. parking tickets, OWI, orrefusing to identify oneself) when more serious or substantial charges are being investigated.

Depends on whether the arrest was made with a warrant or without one. ( in California)

Also remember that probable cause determination is not the same as an arraignment and the defendant need not be informed of the outcome nor even be present untill the arraignment.

From the case, instead of the syllabus:

(Emphasis added). County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U. S. 44, 53 (1991)

And see, (Note that in calculating the time limit, no allowance is made for weekends or holidays. It’s a straight 48 hours)

We need to distinguish between a probable cause determination which must be made within 48hrs period and arraignment which is often the fist time the defendant is informed of the charges.

If you are being held without charges, you can file a habeas corpus petition, asking that the government be required to identify what crime you’re charged with. That’s what Padilla did, and before the court could rule on that matter, he was declared an enemy combatant, making his case moot (although some would disagree).

The case has been heard in several venues including the Supreme Court (which kicked it back down the chain), at which point the 4th circuit ruled that the President had the constitutional authority to order Padilla held without charges. The Supreme Court denied Padilla’s appeal of this ruling. Shortly after that, he was indicted in federal court on a variety of charges, and he was found guilty on all of those charges last month.

Right. *Gerstein * and McLaughlin dealt with consolidated pre-trial proceedings following warrantless arrests.