What Is a Detention Certificate in California

A detention certificate in California is a legal document issued by law enforcement authorities that grants them the power to detain individuals suspected of committing a crime. This certificate is typically issued by a judge or magistrate upon the request of the police or other law enforcement agencies.

The detention certificate allows the authorities to detain and question a suspect without making an immediate arrest. It is often used when the police have reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime, but do not yet have enough evidence to make an arrest. The detention period is usually limited to a specific time frame, such as 48 or 72 hours, during which the police can continue their investigation and gather evidence.

During the detention period, the individual may be asked to provide information or answer questions related to the suspected crime. They may also be subjected to searches, fingerprinting, or other investigative procedures. However, it is important to note that the detention certificate does not grant the authorities the power to use excessive force or violate the suspect’s rights.

Once the detention period expires, the authorities must either release the individual or formally arrest them based on the evidence gathered during the detention. If the evidence is insufficient, the person must be released. If there is enough evidence to support an arrest, the individual will be taken into custody and charged with the alleged crime.


1. Can the police detain me without a detention certificate?
In most cases, the police cannot detain you without a detention certificate unless they have probable cause to believe you have committed a crime or are in the process of committing one.

See also  What Are Pete Dye Courses Known For

2. How long can I be detained with a detention certificate?
The duration of detention varies, but it is typically limited to 48 or 72 hours. After this period, the police must either release you or formally arrest you.

3. Can I refuse to answer questions during a detention?
Yes, you have the right to remain silent during a detention. You are not obligated to answer any questions that may incriminate you.

4. Can I be detained based on a mere suspicion?
No, the police must have reasonable suspicion, which is a higher standard than a mere suspicion, to detain you. They must have specific articulable facts that indicate you may have committed a crime.

5. What happens if the police exceed the detention period?
If the police exceed the authorized detention period without formally arresting you or obtaining an extension, your detention may be deemed unlawful, and any evidence gathered during that time may be inadmissible in court.

It is important to remember that if you find yourself in a situation where you are being detained, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand and protect your rights.