arrestable offence


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arrestable offence

in English criminal law an offence for which the sentence is fixed by law or for which the sentence is five years' imprisonment. The significance is that any person may arrest anyone committing such an offence or anyone whom he reasonably suspects to be committing such an offence without a warrant. There is a category of serious arrestable offence that includes treason, murder and manslaughter (see HOMICIDE), rape and specified offences such as causing death by reckless driving. There is a general provision that makes an arrestable offence a serious arrestable offence if it involves serious harm to state security, serious injury or death.