Can neighborhood watch arrest you/detain?

i know they say they can arrest you but i read that they cant, inorder to do so a crime has to be commited? so what rights do they have in Southern California? How do they "citizen's arrest" if they?

p.s. only educated answers plz i dont want to hear how much ppl hate them, because i hate them as much as you and dont want to get into it. thxs =-)

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The laws on this vary by state, and I'm not familiar with California's specific laws. However, typically private citizens are permitted to arrest and detain people when they have probable cause to believe that a felony or misdemeanor breach of the peace has been committed in their presence by the person they detain.

    Not all crimes fall under this heading. They can detain for all suspected felonies. They can also detain for certain misdemeanors that breach the peace, such as misdemeanor assault. Other crimes, such as some sort of misdemeanor fraud (think your con man running a shell game), may not be covered by this.

    Additionally, the crime must have been committed (or they must at least have probable cause to believe that it has) in their presence. Thus, if they see a guy running out of a jewelry store, followed by the store manager yelling, "Stop, thief!", it has been committed in their presence. If, however, they see a guy who looks like the guy who robbed the jewelry store last week, they cannot detain him because the crime was not committed in their presence.

    Some states allow for a variety of errors to be made. For instance, some states require that a felony actually have been committed (in other words, they are not allowed to make a mistake as to a crime's commission), while other states only require probable cause.

    Source(s): Law school
  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Criminal Record Search Database -
  • 8 years ago

    As a general rule ANY citizen can arrest a person IF a crime is committed in their presence.

    For example, if you find a guy breaking into car, you can arrest him. You can also call for other people's help to restrain the suspect.

    BUT you can't arrest a guy because he matches the description of the guy that robbed the gas station last week. Why? Because for starters you could be wrong, and more importantly because as a civilian you don't have the right to stop and arrest people for questioning and investigation, only the police have the right to do that. In this case all you can do is to contact the authorities and give them the information.

  • Pat
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    In a citizens arrest, you can catch and hold a person WHO is COMMITTING A CRIME ONLY

    until the police get there.

    Then they make the formal arrest, if appropriate.

    They can NOT just grab and hold people because they feel like it.

    if they do, you can file kidnapping charges.

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  • HD
    Lv 7
    8 years ago


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