Legal-Ease: Citizen’s arrests lawful with conditions

Citizen’s arrests can happen lawfully, but only in certain situations. Citizen’s arrests usually only arise in a few different situations. Many people accused of kidnapping claim citizen’s arrest to defend themselves against the allegation. Sometimes employees detain people for theft of items at a store where they’re working. And finally, in some real estate disputes, people will attempt to detain others for unlawful presence on property.

Four conditions should be met for someone to make a lawful citizens arrest. First, the arresting person must have a reasonable belief that the detained person committed a felony. Second, the detained person can only be held in custody until an arrest warrant can be obtained. Third, at the start of the citizen’s arrest, the detained person must be told that the arresting person will be detaining them and why. Finally, the arresting person must immediately bring the detained person to a local court or judge who has jurisdiction over the unlawful act.

The quantity, quality and technological resources of our law enforcement professionals usually position them to handle literally all of the arrests of wrongdoers in our society.

However, private citizens can detain other people without an arrest warrant under certain, limited circumstances. This action is commonly called a “citizen’s arrest.”

Read more about the conditions that can make a citizen’s arrest lawful in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Citizen’s arrests lawful with conditions

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Citizen’s arrests lawful with conditions,” by Lee R. Schroeder, January 13, 2018

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

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