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john65pennington's avatar

Does your state have a strong Citizens Arrest Law?

Asked by john65pennington (29182points) April 21st, 2010

Tennessee must have one of the nations strongest Citizens Arrest Laws. the law is broad in nature and covers just about every law and the rights of a citizen to make an arrest for a witnessed crime. the only requirement of the law is that the citizen must convince a grand jury why you did, what you did. in effecting a citizens arrest in Tennessee, a person can use whatever force is necessary to make the arrest. does your state have a Citizens Arrest Law? if so, how does it compare to Tennessee’s?

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18 Answers

Storms's avatar

In Wisconsin, it’s not even clear if an airport security guard can detain someone he witnesses committing a crime on video monitor.

Snarp's avatar

I have no idea.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

With rare exceptions, most law-breaking in Connecticut happens in the Legislature. Other than that—and Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven—we have no crime.

Storms's avatar

@CyanoticWasp As does most crime in the nation.

ragingloli's avatar

According to §127, Section 1, StPO, yes. Conditions are that the arrest must be done at the crime scene or in the immediate vicinity or after a pursuit after you encountered the suspect at the crime scene.You can not inflict heavy injury upon the suspect. Unless the subject resists arrest, you can not use violence either.
Another reason for arrest is the impossibility or refusal of the subject to identify himself/herself or if there is a high probability of the suspect trying to escape.
It is also important that the crime has to have been actually committed by the suspect.

If the legal requirements for a civilian arrest are not met, you can very well end up with a criminal procedure against yourself.

Snarp's avatar

OK, after a little Googling I find that in Ohio citizen’s arrest is legal upon probably cause that the person detained has committed a felony.

Storms's avatar

———-rendered irrelevant by independent research———-

Seek's avatar

Florida does not have a statutory “Citizen’s arrest” law, aside from the “Common law” that states a shop owner can detain a suspected thief until law enforcement can be contacted. There have even been such cases in which criminal charges of false imprisonment have been drawn against the shop owner.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Snarp how about a misdomeanor?

Snarp's avatar

@BoBo1946 No, not for a misdemeanor.

BoBo1946's avatar

@john65pennington tried to find the Law here…could not find it!

Being a comparative negligent state, would not try it….besides, I’m too young to chasing criminals! loll

@Snarp that does make sense…but, don’t know about you, but i’m not looking to arrest in people that will kill you!

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Every time I hear ‘citizens arrest’, I think of that episode of Andy Griffith & Gomer hollering “citizens arrest….citizens arrest” in his twangy voice. Makes me laugh.

john65pennington's avatar

jbfletcherfan, i remember Mayberry and that episode, too. in Tennessee, shoplifters are arrested under the Citizens Arrest Law and detained for the police. this law has been in effect for many years and has never been challenged, at least to my knowledge. we arrest a lot of shoplifters in Tennessee. must be something in the water.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@john65pennington LOL…could be. Just how serious would anyone take the citizens arrest thing if someone were to do it? I mean, wouldn’t Joe Blow just be laughed at? I never figured it could be carried out effectively.

semblance's avatar

I am an attorney. Do not take this as creating an attorney-client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in three states. I also have a broader knowledge of citizen’s arrest laws in other states because it is related to the subject of shoplifting law, which is a special interest of mine and I have made a special study of it.

In most states the citizen’s arrest law states that a citizen can arrest another for a crime committed in that person’s presence, even a misdemeanor. As one poster pointed out, Florida (outside of the context of shoplifting and dine and dash) does not have a law like that. There may be a few other states like Florida. However, in most states a common citizen can theoretically lawfully arrest another for even a minor crime if the arresting citizen saw the other person commit the crime, using reasonable force if necessary..

That is what the law says. However, don’t confuse that with the way the law is applied. That is different from state to state and even from county to county within a state. In some areas there is still a remnant of the old cultural view that ordinary citizens can enforce the law and citizen’s arrests are tolerated by law enforcement and prosecutors. The more modern trend is that law enforcement does not like private citizens messing with their turf and they, and the prosecutors, will give anyone committing a citizen’s arrest a hard time unless a really serious crime is involved. The police may even charge the arresting citizen with a crime.

Legal theory and legal practice are two different things, unfortunately.

meagan's avatar

Barney Fife, anyone? CITIZENS ARRREESSST!
Not here, no. I wish. I’d probably be arresting for illegit reasons, though.

BoBo1946's avatar

excuse me, i made a “Barney Fife grammarical error!” (said in jest, i loved Barney)

@Snarp that does make sense…but, don’t know about you, but i’m not looking to arrest any people that will kill you!

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany this is a federal law, not state law.

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