Citizen's Arrest Lawyers

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What Is a Citizen's Arrest?

A citizen's arrest occurs when a citizen detains a criminal and holds them until the police arrive and arrest the criminal. A citizen only can "arrest" a criminal if he witnesses the commission of the crime by the criminal. The crime must be an actual criminal offense, not a mere traffic offense or violation of an ordinance. Other terms for citizen's arrest include citizen's detention and private person arrest.

What Are the Limitations of Citizen's Arrest?

A citizen may not use deadly or excessive force when detaining a criminal. Furthermore, law enforcement must agree with the citizen that a crime has occurred prior to the filing of any charges against the alleged criminal.

Are There Any Consequences of Citizen's Arrest?

If a citizen makes an improper arrest, the alleged criminal may have a right to sue the citizen. Most state laws recognize the tort of false imprisonment, which allows someone to sue for their discomfort if they are mistakenly or unjustifiably held against their will. Many shop owners face such lawsuits when they detain shoplifters that they have caught in the act.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Citizen's Arrest Problem?

If you are accused of making an improper citizen's arrest, you should speak an experienced attorney to discuss avoiding liability. If you were the victim of an improper citizen's arrest, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal recourse.

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Last Modified: 01-03-2014 10:00 AM PST

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