In order to make an arrest, Utah law requires that police officer must be able to show probable cause. Under Utah law, probable cause exists when an officer has facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been committed. While police commonly have sufficient probable cause after witnessing a crime, this is not the only way to obtain or provide it. Probable cause can include information gathered from eyewitnesses, physical evidence, your own confession, written documents, or other sources of evidence.
A police officer may also make an arrest if there is an active arrest warrant for you. The requirements for an arrest warrant are nearly identical to those for an arrest – there must be sufficient probable cause in order to justify one.
During an encounter with police, it is generally in your best interest to say as little as possible. Often if police are speaking to you or asking you questions about your actions, it is because they suspect you of a crime but have not yet established probable cause to make an arrest. The less you say, the less likely you are to accidentally make a confession that can lead to arrest.
If you are a suspect in a criminal investigation or have been contacted for a police interview, it is a very good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney before answering any questions. An experienced defense attorney can help you understand your rights and can help you navigate such difficult situations.