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Old 09-21-2009, 09:30 PM   #1
BigDaddyJG
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Default Citizen's Arrest

I have been wondering more and more about the ability for us as normal Joe Average citizen to arrest a criminal. I, by no means, am not thinking of becoming a citizen vigilantly but I would like to now what my rights are. I have done some research and I have found that it is legal. In NRS 171.126 we have the right to arrest.

Has anyone done this? What are the concerns? If you are armed do you detain the criminal at gun point? Tie them up?

Just thinking out load here, but if I look out side my house and I see someone breaking into my car, which is on a public street not private property, can I run out to stop this person and if necessary draw my gun?

I am hoping for a good discussion and not some verbal spanking that seems to happen when someone asks a question that others think stupid.

Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:45 PM   #2
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Good question. No spankin's here!
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:19 AM   #3
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State v. Weddell

A private person, when arresting another person pursuant to NRS 171.126, may use no more force than is necessary and reasonable to secure the arrest. We further hold that deadly force is, as a matter of law, unreasonable, unless the deadly force is used in defense of self or others against a threat of serious bodily injury.

Also - see this link concerning circumstances in which a citizen's arrest can be used.
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009...hority-arrest/
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:48 AM   #4
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I can't fathom why a non-LEO would risk themselves by doing a citizens arrest in response to a property crime.

A friend of mine had a break-in and the BG tried to rape his 5yo. I don't know that he arrested the guy, per se, but he did catch him and hold him until the cops arrived. To me, parental instinct, plus a grave danger to one's child, means you probably do what you need to do.

But for a guy breaking into your car? Would it really be worth putting yourself into potential harms way?

What is legally allowable and what is sensible, are not always a match. Arresting someone who is breaking into your car does not seem sensible to me, even if it's legal.

On the gun question, you really don't want to be brandishing a firearm at someone who is committing a property crime who hasn't shown intent to seriously hurt or kill you. I'm not a lawyer but from everything I understand (thank you Kurt Gepke!), this would be entirely illegal.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:22 AM   #5
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There's a rubber meets the road type problem here. What if you discover someone trying to steal your car. Do you just stand there and watch, or do you try to stop him? OK, so you yell, "Stop!" But the bad guy just flips you off and continues his efforts on your car. He's bigger than you, so a wrestling match seems out of the question. Do you pull your gun and yell, "Stop or I'll shoot!" Then what? If the thief just keeps doing what he's doing do you just stand there with your gun and watch him drive away in your car?

I'm not exactly sure what I'd do in that situation. But one thing is for sure. I wouldn't be arresting him. I'm not equipped to handle prisoners, nor do I have any interest in doing so.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:29 AM   #6
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VegasGeorge, to me, that is a no-brainer. Let him take your car!!

1) if you shoot, the law is not on your side.
2) it's just stuff!!! If he takes your car, you might be inconvenienced. You might have an insurance deductible. It might be in a pain in the butt. BUT...it's JUST STUFF!

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like such a male thing to want to go arrest them or brandish a weapon at them.

Your STUFF is not worth getting hurt over or going to jail over -- no matter how much you love your stuff.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGeorge View Post
There's a rubber meets the road type problem here. What if you discover someone trying to steal your car. Do you just stand there and watch, or do you try to stop him? OK, so you yell, "Stop!" But the bad guy just flips you off and continues his efforts on your car. He's bigger than you, so a wrestling match seems out of the question. Do you pull your gun and yell, "Stop or I'll shoot!" Then what? If the thief just keeps doing what he's doing do you just stand there with your gun and watch him drive away in your car?

I'm not exactly sure what I'd do in that situation. But one thing is for sure. I wouldn't be arresting him. I'm not equipped to handle prisoners, nor do I have any interest in doing so.
This is exactly the question. Do we have a right to protect our property? I will have a hard time just standing there watching someone steal my stuff. I'm really not sure if I would arrest him. I know that we just can't whip out a gun and make threats. But what is the line? And Yes, I worked to long and to hard to let some yahoo steal my stuff. If I try and stop him and he tries to kill me then bang? That is what I don't know.

I feel that this deserves more discussion. I'm just not convinced. My this law is just for the nice bad guys.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:08 AM   #8
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In the United States and in Nevada we have a lot of rights still to enforce the law.

Especially in the case of a felony a citizen is allowed to arrest another, but also for lesser crimes if witnessed.

The big problem is that a non-law enforcement officer faces a tremendous amount of liability and does not have the same immunities.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:19 AM   #9
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Speaking from personal Las Vegas experience, I stopped a crime, it quickly became a fight for my life, (He took a swing at me with a 1.75L bottle of tequila, and missed) I took him to the ground, beat the crap out of him. Cops responded and when they found out I was carrying they universally agreed I should (not could) have shot him.

To this day I still think I was right. But if he had connected with that bottle, then I'd be wrong.

The discussion I've had with lawyers and such (wife works for the DA's office) is if I stop a crime in progress on my property I must use reasonable force only to detain the person or stop the crime. If at anytime I feel my life is in danger, I can use deadly force to protect myself. But I had better be able to articulate my fear and it should be reasonable. It would help if there was some physical proof my life was in danger.

Otherwise, it is a no no.

It was also made clear to me that this is friendly advice and not to be taken as a legal interpretation of current Nevada law. That's what judges and the courts are for.
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:00 PM   #10
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To echo what many have already said, you probably shouldn't be drawing down on a perp.

When I took my inital CCW class, they explained the concept of taking a situation to the "deadly force" level. Everything before that is child's play to an extent: shouting and insulting, shoving, hell even a basic fist fight won't typically constitute a situation where deadly force is a reasonable response (obviously for those who will argue, if you're 5'2" and 110lbs and a 6'4" 300lb body builder wants to fight you, you're in a deadly situation).

If you're the one who initates the deadly force, basically takes it to that level where someone might die, you might be in the wrong. If your handgun comes out and up and it turns out the BG wasn't armed, you might be in the wrong.

BG needs opportunity, means, and motive to kill/GBI you. You must be in fear of your life to use your weapon, so compare those three criteria to a situation where you're attempting an arrest: Opportunity= yeah he's standing right in front of me. Means= if he's unarmed and equal size to you, how exactly is he going to kill you? Motive= sure, he really hated my guts at that moment. 2/3 isn't going to get you any sympathy from the PD when they show up.
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