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Attorney Rodney Townsend

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Does a citizen have the legal right to arrest me in Texas?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Firm News |

According to Texas Penal Code 14.01, citizen’s arrests are legal in Texas. The code states that a peace officer or any other person may arrest an offender. It’s important to note that a citizen’s arrest must follow specific guidelines in order to comply with the law.

When can a Texas citizen make an arrest?

A citizen can make an arrest in Texas depending on the type of crime involved. A citizen’s arrest is limited to felonies or disturbances of the peace committed in front of the citizen making the arrest.

Misdemeanors don’t qualify for a citizen’s arrest in Texas. If a person commits a misdemeanor and is arrested by a citizen, they can possibly use that part of the law as a criminal defense strategy. This is why citizens should know if the crime being committed is a felony or a misdemeanor before attempting to make a citizen’s arrest.

What does a citizen’s arrest involve?

The person making the arrest must use reasonable force during the capture. If the person making the arrest uses excessive force, they could find themselves facing criminal charges. An example of excessive force is using violence to make an arrest when the person is already compliant.

After making a citizen’s arrest, the arresting citizen must take the person to a law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers include people like police officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, state troopers, U.S. marshals and deputy marshals.

Risks associated with a citizen’s arrest

A citizen’s arrest is generally made when there’s an immediate need for arrest and there’s no law enforcement available. The citizen making the arrest could put themselves in danger if the person being arrested resists. There’s also the possibility of the arresting citizen making a mistake and facing legal consequences.