Busted or Justified? Understanding Texas’ Citizen’s Arrest Rules
When you see something illegal happening, the best thing to do is to contact the police & let them handle the situation. But what do you do if you need to do something NOW? In other words, can you legally arrest someone before the cops show up in Texas?
What is a citizen's arrest?
If you don't know what it is, it's pretty self explanatory: it's when you, a private citizen, observe something illegal & you can decide to take action & place someone under arrest. For example; if you see a thief running down the street, you have the right to chase after them & hold them until the cops show up & arrest them.
Can you legally perform a citizen's arrest in the state of Texas?
According to state law, and actual police officers themselves, yes you can. The online text from the Cornell Law School states (and I quote): "In Texas...any person may arrest someone that is committing a felony or an offense against the public peace in front of them". Even in an interview with Officer Rickey Antoine from Port Arthur, Texas, he has confirmed that while you're in the state of Texas, a citizen's arrest is not illegal:
Everybody is fully aware of the power of arrest that is entrusted in police officers in the state of Texas, but the state of Texas also empowers ANY person to arrest WITHOUT a warrant. These arrests by ANY person only pertain to felonies committed in their presence or any crime against public peace.
While a citizen's arrest IS legal in Texas, there is something to be aware of
Officer Antoine, in the same interview, went on to advise that it's best to be "A good witness" to a crime. You never know what someone will do or how violent they can be if you try to perform a citizen's arrest; you could be putting yourself in even more danger by attempting one.
Of course there's a lot more that goes into what is & what's not allowed in regards to a citizen's arrest; you can see the entire Code of Criminal Procedure on citizen's arrests here.
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