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Question about Citizens Arrest...

Discussion in 'Legal' started by iiibdsiil, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. iiibdsiil

    iiibdsiil Well-Known Member

    Let's say a cop is out of jurisdiction, but, for whatever reason, he wants to pull me over, and hold me until another cop comes, that is in jurisdiction. This would be a citizens arrest, more or less, correct?

    Either way, if he is not in jurisdiction, can I evade legally? Maybe I was doing 55 in a 45 and his wife just left him so he is pissed off and wants to write me a ticket or hold me until someone comes that can.

    Also, what exactly is a citizens arrest?
  2. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    Please be advised that in every state i can think of there are no jusridictional boundaries. Unless the cop is from out of state he most likely has statewide authority as a law enforcement officer.

    If he IS from out of state he has no business even driving a patrol car in a neighboring state, let alone pull people over.

    A "citizens arrest" is essentially the authority that all people have to hold criminals until the arrival of the authorities. You have to have witnessed the crime first hand and it has to be worth arresting someone for (VERY subjective btw) and it usually requires that the arestee is either in possession of your property, posing an immediate risk to yourself or others, or commited a violent offense in your presence. I cannot imagine a case where speeding would qualify unless one was driving in such a way as to pose a significant danger to other motorists (of course one would have to wonder how a citizen would pull this person over without creating an even more dangerous situation).

    Long story short, if a cop lights you up you are best off stopping and cooperating. If he is doing something he shouldnt be doing then the place to deal with that is a courtroom, not the side of the road.

    If your speeding I don't see any reason why a police officer shouldnt be pulling you over. It doesnt really matter how his personal life is going. We pay them to enforce the law and if you break it I don't see why they shouldnt be doing their job. In other words speeding=ticket and there really isnt any way to change that beyond NOT speeding.
  3. Brick

    Brick Well-Known Member

    Hello everybody.â„¢

    Of course, you're going to tell him No he can't search your car, right? Yup.
  4. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    As it was mentioned above, if an officer pulls you over, the best thing to do is to stop, and follow the directions of the officer.

    Now, if your concern is if the person is a REAL cop or not, here are some key indicators to look for:

    1. Be familiar with the license plates used by police in your state. In WA State, you will see a State plate, with the letters "XMT" (for Exempt) on it. If it is a State Patrol vehicle, the letters "WSP" will be contained as part of the license number.

    2. Traffic enforcement is done by UNIFORMED officers. If someone steps out of a vehicle and they are NOT in uniform, it may be a cause for concern.

    3. Know the colors of the warning lights used by police in your state. No fooling! Blue lights in WA State are reserved for law enforcement ONLY.

    4. If necessary, don't be afraid to ask the officer to show their commissioning card. Badges aren't enough; every officer should carry their commissioning credentials.

    If the lights come on, and you don't feel right about the stop, reduce speed, and get on your cell phone immediately. Notify the dispatcher of your location, and ask them if an officer had just called in a traffic stop on your vehicle. You can even ask (for verification) that the dispatcher tell the officer to turn their light bar off momentarily, then back on.

    Be advised, though, that usually only police in that jurisdiction, in police vehicles will perform traffic stops. However, law enforcement officers throughout the State have full law enforcement authority within that State.
  5. jnojr

    jnojr Well-Known Member

    In California, I, as a private citizen, have powers of arrest that are very close to that of a police officer. The main difference is a police officer can arrest someone when they're reasonable certain that a felony has ovvurred and that their suspect is the persn who committed it. I have to know that a felony has occurred and that the person I'm arresting did it.
  6. In Georgia the only difference between Joe Average and me is that I can serve warrants enforce court orders and enforce local ordnances. I can also make the determination that exigent circumstances exist and arrest w/o a warrant, fearing a failure of justice or whatnot, or enter a dwelling w/o a warrant, if exigent circumstances exist.

    Where a citizen cannot.

    In Georgia the citizens arrest for a citizen is fairly straightforward, you can arrest for a crime committed in your presence or immediate knowledge.

    Now an arrest in Georgia is defined as the mere seizing of a person, basically if they are not free to go they are under arrest, a traffic stop meets the definition of an arrest in Georgia. Also you can be “Arrested and made to post a bond†for any traffic offence in Georgia as well.

    As a Georgia certified LEO I can “arrest†for any crime committed in my presence or my immediate knowledge anywhere in the state.
  7. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    C_yeager said;
    I don't think you'll find that in a lot of states. I know here in Illinois one only has peace officer status in the jurisdiction he's appointed in.

    You need to be a little more specific regarding the circumstances. Did you pass through the officer's jurisdiction before being stopped? If that's the case and the infraction occurred in his jurisdiction he's justified in stopping you and making the arrest.

    Please define evading legally. Are you talking about running from a marked car? I really don't know how else you'd know the officer was out of his jurisdiction if he was in an unmarked car.

    Like others have said, I don't know under what circumstances an officer from another jurisdiction would enforce a traffic law unless you were driving so recklessly that you were clearly a hazard to the public. Here in Illinois all the officer would have to do if he really wanted to bust you for traffic while out of his jurisdiction would be to call in your license plate and the description of the driver and the offense and state he'd sign a complaint. Then the appropriate jurisdiction would issue the citation but the officer from the other jurisidiction who witnessed it, would have to testify in court. A private citizen can do the same thing BTW. Officers take their official vehicles outside of their jurisdiction for a variety of reasons. In fact I'm taking one 30 miles to a school on Wednesday and Thursday. But I don't think I'll worry about writing any tickets between here and there ;).

  8. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    Maybe its just a west coast thing. i know its the case in WA, OR, CA, and I believe CO. Does anyone have a good state to state list for refference?
  9. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

    As for marked police cars going out of state, even though I'm not a police officer, I know for a fact that many officers attend training out of state, and at least occasionally have reason to take their squad cars.
  10. ScottsGT

    ScottsGT Well-Known Member

    Great! After reading this post, all I'm going to think about all day is Gomer Pyle yelling "CITIZENS ARREST! CITIZENS ARREST!" at Barney Fife after making an illegal U turn! :cuss:
  11. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Well-Known Member

    In Virginia, you can enact a Citizen's arrest if you KNOW a felony has been committed. And since holding someone for "citizen's arrest" if they're not guilty of a felony is itself a felony, I'd be mighty careful about exercising that right!
  12. Taipei Personality

    Taipei Personality Well-Known Member

    I was told in my CCW class that there is no citizen's arrest in North Carolina.
  13. Smurfslayer

    Smurfslayer Well-Known Member

    As you were, Undertoad.

    In Virginia, a citizen's arrest may be performed by any citizen, for any "Breach of the Peace", not simply a felony. See: Hudson vs. Commonwealth.

    The Gist of that ruling was that an out of jurisdiction LEO, obviously well trained, and well versed, pulled over an obviously DUI driver. He then correctly notified officers in the correct jurisdiction of his detention, and he advised the driver not to leave. Driver challenged the detention on the grounds that DUI was not a felony, Supreme Court said "nice try. Wrong."
    They clearly identified the arrest powers were endowed to all citizens.

    NOT that I would counsel doing it unless it were necessary...

    So, out of jurisdiction LEO in VA may most certainly detain you for a Breach of the Peace, however, I do not believe that speeding in and of itself is, in fact, a breach. Speeding 20+ over (reckless; class 1 misdemeanor), maybe in VA... However, if you fail to stop for a LEO, or attempt to evade, out of jurisdiction or not, it's flight, which IS a felony.

  14. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Well-Known Member

    As I was...

    Thanks for the correction, Smurfslayer. That's how it was explained to me by one of the police officers I work with. I suppose he was trying to do me a favor by simplifying it for me. :)
  15. As a police officer I can count on one hand the number of times I have arrested while off-duty. Most officers, myself included just don’t want to get involved while off-duty, I believe in being a good witness, unless life or limb are in danger.
  16. XD40EZO

    XD40EZO Well-Known Member

    Can you...

    ...lawfully perform a Citizen's Arrest using your CCW? What if you are not licensed, but the law permits you to have CCW in your private conyance, are you going to get in trouble for pulling it out to stop a crime?

  17. Erich

    Erich Well-Known Member

    I represented a guy on appeal who had been convicted for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon for doing just that.

    Got the conviction reversed on appeal. The guy is now a cop, and a real good one. :)

    What is lawful will be decided by the judge and jury, and maybe the appeals court :), after anything you do.
  18. If you should decide to make a citizen's arrest, unless you are a LE outside of your jurisdiction, I wouldn’t even consider using any force at all unless you are absolutely sure the person committed the crime.

    Even then the use of force may be imprudent, since the person you arrest may be able to sue you based on your state laws, if you are wrong about his guilt or if you use excessive force.

    There is not telling what kind of can-o-worms would be opened if you used force and in the end were found to have detained (and used force against) the wrong person.

    That is why when the officer is in doubt, he/she will make no arrest, write a good report based on victim and witness statements then go and see a Magistrate Judge to see if the Judge will issue a warrant based on the evidence the officer has gathered.

    If the judge will issue the warrant as long as the facts the officer presented represent the totality of the circumstances that he/she gathered from victim/witnesses the burden then moves from the officer to the Magistrate Judge.
  19. And another thing, which may put this whole cop out of his jurisdiction thing to rest.

    Many states have laws (GA is one of them), which will allow an officer to write a citation based on the roadside testimony of another state certified officer.

    So if I’m on duty in my town and an officer from another town is following a car in his POV and he witnesses conduct, which makes him believe the driver, is impaired he calls our dispatch and states such. I can pull said car and write the driver for whatever violation the other officer witnessed as long as that officer is willing to come to court and testify to what he saw.

    I have pulled many cars because another officer called it in and then stopped to help me ID the veh. In this case as long as the other officer is willing to be the witness, I always scratch a ticket so I can CMOA.
  20. When a crime is committed, you have the right and responsibility to make a "Citizen's Arrest".

    Thus, if YOU commit a crime, it would be extremely helpful (and provide a savings of tax dollars) for you to perform a Citizen's Self-Arrest.


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