Thu, 23 Nov 2017

What Is A Citizen's Arrest

There are particular situations when private individuals can arrest someone without the need for a warrant. This type of arrest is referred to as citizen's arrest.

A citizen's arrest takes place when ordinary individuals either do the detaining of criminals themselves or direct the proper authorities in detaining a criminal, even though they're not a sworn law enforcement official.

First things first: You should always report wrongdoings to the proper authorities instead of performing the needed actions on your own. The police have the proper tools for intervention, and they are taught to deal with incidents and situation that can possibly escalate to something dangerous and violent.

What To Say In A Citizen's Arrest

When you make a citizen's arrest, you must inform the suspect that you are implementing a citizen's arrest for the actual crime in question. You should also tell the suspect that you'll be taking the person to the closest police station.

Remember that you don't have any legal rights to check the suspect's belongings or to confiscate anything from him or her. You are not allowed to interrogate the person as well.

Points to Ponder

You should carefully consider the risks of making a citizen's arrest. The risk factors may bring severe unintended consequences for you as well as others involved. Usually, cases of citizen's arrest would involve the actual seizing or touching someone's body so they can be detained.

Prior to making an actual citizen's arrest, be informed of the Citizen's Arrest Laws and take into account the following factors:

  • If it's possible for the police to intervene, then report the crime to them instead; don't take action on your own.
  • Once you do the citizen's arrest, are you able to turn the suspect over to the proper authorities without delay?
  • By attempting to make a citizen's arrest, your own safety and others' safety can be compromised. See first if the suspect is alone, and if he has a weapon with him.
  • Do you have an idea about the suspect's criminal conduct? If the answer is no, consider doing a background check on that person. Our USA people search website can give you accurate and up-to-date information.

Prior to making a citizen's arrest, you should also remember that you're dealing with people who may not be totally honest with the police. Make sure you're clear on what's happening, and it would be best to have witnesses involved.

Don't act alone if possible. If the person you're arresting attempts to suggest that you've done any assault or did them any wrong, it might be difficult to prove that it's their word against yours. Make sure to compile any evidences and again, have witnesses involved to make the handover as smooth as possible.

Laws of Citizen's Arrest

In order to make a citizen's arrest, most cases would need you to see the suspect in the following scenarios:

  • He should be in the act of performing a crime.
  • A “breach of the peace” is currently being committed, or
  • He is currently being chased by the lawful authorities who are more capable of performing the arrest, but is possibly capable of getting away

You can make a citizen's arrest for a particular crime as long as you are the property owner or you have authorization from the property owner or those in lawful possession of the area in question.

The law gives you an opportunity to use force when making a citizen's arrest. You don't have to worry as long as you're within reasonable grounds. Forces you use should fit the circumstances; you'll be accountable for any excess force used. You may end up with a civil lawsuit regarding your conduct as well as injuries you may have caused (inadvertently or otherwise) if you're not too careful.

According to the law, after making the citizen's arrest, the individual arrested should be handed over to the police without delays. If you attempt to make a citizen's arrest but don't call the police immediately, your arrest will be considered illegal instead and you'll end up facing criminal or civil consequences.


In certain scenarios, every individual is given the power to arrest criminals, but these individuals are acting at their own risk. Not only is the task of capturing a criminal totally dangerous, but failure to satisfy the legal requirements can possibly indicate devastating consequences for the individual making the arrest as well.

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