The state of California allows people to make a citizen’s arrest in some cases. Penal Code 837 details the situations in which someone can carry out a citizen’s arrest. Generally, citizens can arrest other people for misdemeanors or felonies.
However, it is very important to exercise caution when performing a citizen’s arrest. Mistaken or improper arrests can lead to criminal charges against you. Contact the Simmrin Law Group if you have concerns about a citizen’s arrest you made. You can reach us at (310) 997-4688.
Citizen’s Arrests in California
Citizens are sometimes allowed to arrest one another in California. The state permits these arrests only in certain situations. The regulations for making an arrest vary based upon whether the underlying crime was a misdemeanor or a felony.
Citizen’s Arrests for Misdemeanors
Individuals can only make an arrest for a misdemeanor if someone commits, or tries to commit, a crime in front of them.
Misdemeanor offenses are not as serious as felonies in California. Individuals can face misdemeanor charges for things like petty theft or even prostitution.
Citizen’s Arrests for Felonies
Individuals have more leeway when making a citizen’s arrest for a felony. In this case, an arrest can be made if someone knows or has reason to believe that someone committed a felony.
Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses in California. Both rape and murder are often prosecuted as felonies in California. PC 827 allows someone to carry out a citizen’s arrest alone, though individuals are also allowed to ask for help in making a citizen’s arrest.
Steps to Carry out a Citizen’s Arrest
There are procedures that should be followed when making a citizen’s arrest. Individuals who skip certain steps could end up facing civil or criminal charges after the arrest. While making a citizen’s arrest, individuals need to:
- Tell the individual they are being arrested
- Explain why the arrest occurred
- Inform the accused that the police were called
The police should be informed before making a citizen’s arrest. Civilians are not allowed to keep other people in custody for a long period of time. The suspect must be handed over to police custody after a citizen’s arrest is made.
Additionally, it’s important to focus on the authority used to make a citizen’s arrest. Technically, PC 837 grants citizens in California the authority to make these arrests. Finally, make sure to move quickly if you decide to make a citizen’s arrest. Waiting for too long after a crime occurs to make a citizen’s arrest can void your right to do so.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you fight back against any charges you may have incurred for making a citizen’s arrest. Just call us at (310) 997-4688 to learn more.
Safety Issues During a Citizen’s Arrest
There are some risks associated with making a citizen’s arrest here in California. Arresting another person could put you or other people in danger. In some cases, insufficient care for the suspect could even lead to legal issues for you after an arrest. For this reason, make sure that you:
Do Not Use Force
Using force during a citizen’s arrest can escalate the situation. Individuals who use too much force could end up injuring the person they are trying to arrest. This could lead to criminal charges in court. This is more serious if it turns out the arrest was unlawful.
Do Not Behave Recklessly
It’s important to focus on your own safety and well-being during a citizen’s arrest. You also need to consider the safety of those around you. This means you should not engage in, for example, a dangerous chase. You should also refrain from frisking the person you’re trying to arrest.
Get Legal Help Quickly
As a civilian, you are not legally allowed to detain other people for a long period of time. Attempting to do this could lead to kidnapping or battery charges. For this reason, make sure you call the authorities right away and provide them with information about where you are and what you are doing. If you are accused of acting with impropriety during an arrest, reach out to a lawyer for help.
Speak to a Lawyer After Making a Citizen’s Arrest
Did you make a citizen’s arrest under the authority of Penal Code 837? If you are facing criminal charges after the arrest, you can contact us for help. Allow the Simmrin Law Group to assess your legal situation right now. Just contact our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles. We’ll review your case with a free consultation.
Call us at (310) 997-4688. We also have an online contact form.