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Citizen’s Arrest Explained

You have probably heard the term citizen’s arrest before, and although it sounds pretty self-explanatory, the verbiage can produce a foggy understanding. What a citizen’s arrest does not do is grant the power of a peace officer to a civilian. For example, a citizen making an arrest cannot search or interrogate the perpetrator. Let’s take a look at what a citizen’s arrest entails and the legal restrictions of the process in Texas.

What Is a Citizen’s Arrest?

In plain terms, a citizen’s arrest is the temporary detainment of a person who has committed a crime in the presence of the citizen who is making the arrest. The only purpose of the citizen making the arrest is to temporarily detain the perpetrator until police arrive. This often involves the use of some force such as tackling and subduing the offender.

Is a Citizen’s Arrest Legal?

The short answer is yes, citizen’s arrests are legal. However, there are certain guidelines that one must follow in attempting to carry one out. Texas Penal Code 14.01 (a) states that any person may, without a warrant, arrest an offender when the offense is committed in his presence or within his view, if the offense is one classed as a felony or as an offense against the public peace. 

Therefore, as long as you are around when the crime took place and the crime was serious enough, you can make a citizen’s arrest. Because of this, misdemeanors such as some traffic violations and disorderly conduct would not constitute as serious enough for a citizen’s arrest. This also means that if you were to hear about a crime from another source and attempt to make a citizen’s arrest, you would be outside of your rights to do so. 

Citizen’s Arrest Procedure

If you have witnessed a serious crime and believe that making a citizen’s arrest is necessary, you should follow these guidelines.The first thing you should do is determine if you can make the arrest in a safe way. Once you decide that it is safe to make the arrest, inform the offender that you are making a citizen’s arrest. Next, detain the offender and wait for police to arrive. It is imperative that you only make a citizen’s arrest when absolutely necessary as you are putting yourself in harm’s way. Remember that this is a police matter and they are better equipped to handle the situation than you are. If you make a citizen’s arrest, you should also be aware that legal consequences may follow so be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. A false citizen’s arrest can lead to more harm than good. 

Know Your Rights With Delta Bail Bonds

It’s important to know your rights. Whether you are making a citizen’s arrest or you have just had your arraignment, having a plan is always the best thing you can do. Whatever your situation, Delta Bail Bonds can get you or your family out of jail and back home to await trial. Contact us if you are in the Dallas or McKinney area and we can bail you out fast!

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