Citizen’s and Self Arrest: An Explanation

Did you know that you have the power to arrest? Many people are unaware of this provision of the law, but it can be a very useful tool when responsibly employed. Citizen’s and self-arrests can be complicated subjects, and there are guidelines you should follow before completing either in order to ensure the process is done the right way.

What is Citizen’s Arrest?

Citizen’s arrest is when someone who is not a law enforcement officer arrests another person because they saw a crime taking place or have reasonable cause to believe that said person has committed a crime. The practice of citizen’s arrest stems from the middle ages when there was no organized police force and citizens were encouraged to take the law into their own hands to stop crime, according to Washington College of Law. Nowadays, vigilante justice to the Middle Ages degree is strongly discouraged, but citizen’s arrests still can and do occur, but it is important to know the facts about them before you consider going out and arresting people.

A citizen’s arrest should only be completed if you have reasonable cause to believe a person committed a specific crime. Most state’s citizen arrest provisions allow for the arresting person to use reasonable force to take the accused into custody and then contact the police to complete the legal process of detaining the accused. However, if you wrongfully arrest someone, there will be consequences, as the accused person could file a suit and require you to pay damages. In addition, calling the police as soon as possible is always the best course of action to ensure everything is done properly as police are trained in the legal proceedings of an arrest.

What is Self-Arrest?

Arresting yourself may seem like something completely counterintuitive to your own self-interest. In a society where the legal system and criminal justice procedures were not so efficient, or dedicated to preserving your rights, it would likely be a better choice to evade arrest for as long as possible. However, in the society we live in, it is often far better to turn yourself in for a crime which has caused a warrant for your arrest because it will allow for a swift proceeding of justice and help you to prove that you know you did the wrong thing and would like to ameliorate it.

Performing a self-arrest is not a very difficult procedure, and it can help you to avoid the embarrassment of being arrested at home or at work where many people can see. In fact, you can likely put your business in order quickly before you turn yourself in so you know that everything is well taken care of. In order to turn yourself in, first call the sheriff’s office or local arresting agency and ask which day and time would be best for turning yourself in. Generally, it’s better to avoid Mondays and Fridays (Monday because there are arrests from over the weekend that need to be filed, and Friday because you may not get to see a judge until the next week begins).

Final Thoughts

Sometimes bad things happen, and the good news is that you can help to right these wrongs. Whether you are performing a citizen’s arrest, calling the police, or responding to a warrant by turning yourself in, you are helping the justice system function properly. As always, listen to reason, and make sure you are doing the right thing for the situation. If you or a loved one are arrested and need assistance covering bail, contact Mercy Bail Bonds today for a consultation and guidance on your next steps.