ALWAYS research your local laws for your rights to conduct a Citizen's Arrest.
ALWAYS remain on scene and cooperate fully with law enforcement after you have made contact.
REMEMBER this is a serious action to take and must not be taken lightly, there are consequences for a false or unjustified action.
via Dark Guardian:
What is a Citizens Arrest?
By: Collin McKibben, Attorney at Law & Ariella Rosenberg
Everyone is familiar with the term citizens arrest: we have seen it on TV, read about it in books, and even heard about it in social circles. Surprisingly, however, almost nobody really understands what a citizens arrest is, or legally, what it represents.
A citizen's arrest is an arrest performed by a civilian who lacks official government authority to make an arrest (as opposed to an officer of the law). An arrest, as defined by Black's Law Dictionary, is "The apprehending or detaining of a person in order to be forthcoming to answer an alleged or suspected crime." Ex parte Sherwood, (29 Tex. App. 334, 15 S.W. 812).
Although generally the person making a citizens arrest must be a citizen, in certain states, a citizens arrest can be carried out by a civilian who is not a citizen (for example, an alien or illegal immigrant). A citizens arrest does not necessarily mean an arrest made by a single individual who happens to witness a crime. For example, a department store may also carry out a citizens arrest in the course of apprehending a shoplifter.
Legal Requirements for Making a Citizens Arrest
The right to making a citizens arrest goes back to our roots in English common law. Historically, before the modern infrastructure of police departments, citizen's arrests were an important part of community law enforcement. Today, citizens arrests are still legal in every state, although state laws pertaining to citizens arrests are not uniform. In general, all states permit citizens arrests if a criminal felony (defined by the government as a serious crime, usually punishable by at least one year in prison) is witnessed by the citizen carrying out the arrest, or if a citizen is asked to help apprehend a suspect by the police. Variations of state law arise in cases of misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party.
For example, California Penal Code mandates:
A private person may arrest another: 1. For a public offense committed or attempted in his presence. 2. When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his presence. 3. When a felony has been in fact committed, and he has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it. (C.P.C. 837).
In contrast, New York State Consolidated Laws hold that:
Any person may arrest another person (a) for a felony when the latter has in fact committed such felony, and (b) for any offense when the latter has in fact committed such offense in his presence. (N.Y.C.L. 140.30).
Unlike the California statute, which only permits citizens arrests in cases of felony, New York law extends the possibility for making a citizens arrest to any offense committed in [ones] presence. Additionally, in cases where the citizen has not necessarily witnessed the crime being committed, California law allows citizens arrests when a citizen has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed [a felony], whereas New York law applies only to situations in which person has in fact committed a felony. Distinctions such as these are important unwarranted citizens arrests can result in repercussions (such as law suits) for well-meaning citizens who attempt to make arrests without understanding local laws. It is important to be familiar with the laws in your particular state should you want to carry out a citizens arrest, or should a citizen try to unlawfully detain you.
Anatomy of a Citizens Arrest
Once a person has committed an offense meriting a citizens arrest (under the applicable state law), the arresting party must follow certain guidelines to detain and deliver to authorities the suspect in question. Acceptable guidelines for carrying out a citizens arrest also vary by state. In general, the arresting party must notify the suspect as to why he or she is being arrested, and may enter the building or private residence where the suspect is residing, using a reasonable amount of force to apprehend the suspect. In California, for example, To make an arrest, a private person, if the offense is a felony may break open the door or window of the house in which the person to be arrested is, or in which they have reasonable grounds for believing the person to be, after having demanded admittance and explained the purpose for which admittance is desired. (C.P.C., 844). In New York, A person may arrest another person for an offense at any hour of any day or night. 2. Such person must inform the person whom he is arresting of the reason for such arrest unless he encounters physical resistance, flight or other factors rendering such procedure impractical. 3. In order to effect such an arrest, such person may use such physical force as is justifiable pursuant to subdivision four of section 35.30 of the penal law. (N.Y.C.L. 140.35).
Once the suspect has been taken into custody (by the citizen), it is the citizens responsibility to deliver the suspect to the proper authorities in a timely fashion. In California, A private person who has arrested another for the commission of a public offense must, without unnecessary delay, take the person arrested before a magistrate, or deliver him or her to a peace officer. (C.P.C. 847). In New York, a citizen must also act without unnecessary delay to deliver a suspect to an officer of the law. (N.Y.C.L. 140).
Dangers of Making an Erroneous Citizens Arrest
Making a citizen's arrest maliciously or with insufficient evidence of wrongdoing by the arrested individual can lead to civil or criminal penalties. Additionally, it is in violation of a suspects rights for a citizen making an arrest to use unnecessary force, to intentionally harm the suspect, to hold the suspect in unsafe conditions, or to delay in turning the suspect over to authorities. A citizen making an arrest is acting in the place of an officer of the law, and as such, is required to uphold the same rights and civil liberties as an officer of the law must uphold.
A citizen who violates a suspects rights, or who violates the applicable state law in detaining the suspect, (for example, arresting a suspect for a misdemeanor when the state statute requires a felony for a citizens arrest), risks being sued or even charged with a crime. Additionally, if it is found that the arresting party did not meet the pertinent state requirements for a citizens arrest, any contraband found on the suspect will have been found illegally, and charges may be dropped entirely.
If you feel that you have been unfairly arrested by a citizen, or if you have been charged with illegally detaining a suspect during an illegitimate citizens arrest, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. A good attorney will demonstrate familiarity with state laws, and as such will help you to ensure the best possible outcome of your case.
IOWA Arrest Codes: 2011
Chapter 804: Arrest
Relevant to Private Citizens (others not listed pertain only to Law Enforcement Officers)
804.9 Arrests by private persons.
A private person may make an arrest:
1. For a public offense committed or attempted in the person’s presence.
2. When a felony has been committed, and the person has reasonable ground for believing that the person to be arrested has committed it.
[C51, §2846; R60, §4549; C73, §4201; C97, §5197; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13469; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.5; C79, 81, §804.9]
804.10 Use of force in arrest by private person.
A private person who makes or assists another private person in making a lawful arrest is justified in using any force which the person reasonably believes to be necessary to make the arrest or which the person reasonably believes to be necessary to prevent serious injury to any person.
A private person who is summoned or directed by a peace officer to assist in making an arrest may use whatever force the peace officer could use under the circumstances, provided that, if the arrest is unlawful, the private person assisting the officer shall be justified as if the arrest were a lawful arrest, unless the person knows that the arrest is unlawful.
[C79, 81, §804.10]
See §704.1 – 704.3
804.12 Use of force in resisting arrest.
A person is not authorized to use force to resist an arrest, either of the person’s self, or another which the person knows is being made either by a peace officer or by a private person summoned and directed by a peace officer to make the arrest, even if the person believes that the arrest is unlawful or the arrest is in fact unlawful.
[C51, §2669; R60, §4296; C73, §3960; C97, §4899; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13331; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §742.1; C79, 81, §804.12]
804.13 Use of force in preventing an escape.
A peace officer or other person who has an arrested person in custody is justified in the use of such force to prevent the escape of the arrested person from custody as the officer or other person would be justified in using if the officer or other person were arresting such person.
[C51, §2844; R60, §4553; C73, §4205; C97, §5200; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13472; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.8; C79, 81, §804.13]
804.14 Manner of making arrest.
The person making the arrest must inform the person to be arrested of the intention to arrest the person, the reason for arrest, and that the person making the arrest is a peace officer, if such be the case, and require the person being arrested to submit to the person’s custody, except when the person to be arrested is actually engaged in the commission of or attempt to commit an offense, or escapes, so that there is no time or opportunity to do so; if acting under the authority of a warrant, the law enforcement officer need not have the warrant in the officer’s possession at the time of the arrest, but upon request the officer shall show the warrant to the person being arrested as soon as possible. If the officer does not have the warrant in the officer’s possession at the time of arrest, the officer shall inform the person being arrested of the fact that a warrant has been issued.
[C51, §2839, 2841, 2847; R60, §4552; C73, §4204; C97, §5199; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13471; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.7; C79, 81, §804.14]
804.15 Breaking and entering premises — demand to enter.
If a law enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe that a person whom the officer is authorized to arrest is present on any private premises, the officer may upon identifying the officer as such, demand that the officer be admitted to such premises for the purpose of making the arrest. If such demand is not promptly complied with, the officer may thereupon enter such premises to make the arrest, using such force as is reasonably necessary.
[C51, §2843, 2848; R60, §4554; C73, §4206; C97, §5201; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13473; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.9; C79, 81, §804.15]
NOTE: So if you see something going down in a private premises (land and buildings) you cannot B&E, so call 911 and report it. The only way I would violate this is if someone is obviously going to get seriously hurt or dead. Individual choice, make your own.
804.16 Time of arrest.
An arrest may be made on any day and at any time of the day or night.
[C51, §2837, 2850; R60, §4545, 4551; C73, §4197, 4203; C97, §5193; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13465; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.1; C79, 81, §804.16]
804.17 Summoning aid.
Any peace officer making a legal arrest may orally summon as many persons as the officer reasonably finds necessary to aid the officer in making the arrest.
[R60, §4556; C73, §4208; C97, §5203; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §13475; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §755.11; C79, 81, §804.17]
804.18 Taking Weapons
Any person who makes an arrest may take from the person arrested all items which are capable of causing bodily harm which the arrested person may have within the arrested person's control to be disposed
of according to law.
[R60, § 4560; C73, § 4212; C97, § 5204; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, § 13476; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, § 755.12; C79, 81, § 804.18]
Other Relevant Codes:
704.1 Reasonable force.
“Reasonable force” is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment.
[C51, §2773; R60, §4442; C73, §4112; C97, §5102; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §12921; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §691.1; C79, 81, §704.1; 81 Acts, ch 204, §2]
704.3 Defense of self or another.
A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force.
[C51, §2773 – 2775; R60, §4442 – 4444; C73, §4112 – 4114; C97, §5102 – 5104; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §12921 – 12923; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §691.1, 691.2(1), 691.3; C79, 81, §704.3]