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Posted: 11/25/2003 5:03:52 PM EDT
Ok I have heard the term a number of times but what can a average citizen do to stop crime or in my case witnessing a guy under the influence running red lights and running up onto curbs? I dont wanna be Mr.Jonny Law but but at the same time I would hate to see someone get injured. Thanks in advance for the help!
Christopher
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 7:31:40 PM EDT
Best advice is to use your cell phone and call the Police to deal with it. Get a good description of driver/car/tag number and pass it on. Give them info to contact you as a witness if need be.

Getting involved with citizen's arrests (when and where legal) is a fool's business!
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 4:53:48 AM EDT
Do what your conscience tells you to do. If someone is putting lives at risk and you feel you can stop it and are willing to take the risks involved in trying, then do what you think is best.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:21:10 AM EDT
Getting involved with citizen's arrests (when and where legal) is a fool's business!
[/quote]

Ok I'll try to put this in a diffrent light, If there were a drunk driver going approx. 30 mph and swerving in and out of yellow line and up onto curbs what would he do on the highway doing 75mph? Would you be so fast to say it is "fools business" when your wife and kids were hit head on and killed.
Like I said before I DON't want to take the law into my own hands. There just might come a period in life where you might have to put your own life on the line to save others (maybe in diffrent case here)but as a citizen are you not resposible for stopping murder,manslaughter, or even a horrific crime if able?
Last Summer we were going back from a game and when there was a vehicle in front of us swerving all over, running up onto the curbs, we called police gave truck tag, make, model,color,and person discription. We followed 4 blocks to stop light where it was apparent that vehicle was getting onto highway, we followed for approx. 6 miles on the highway when truck in left lane tries to merge into the right lane with a car to his immidiate right, the car swerves and honks causing truck in left lane to swerve and overcompinsate this causes the truck to loose totall control of vehicle and to cross medium into oncoming traffic where truck hits a mini-van head on.
When the Highway Patrol arrives he ask me to look for womans purse driving the van, as I find in in the back seat I look throught to find any i.d when I see a picture of her and three little girls. She was pronounced dead on the scene. I wish for anything to take that moment in time back. Yes I would have tried to block the ramp onto the highway in attempt to stop him. Turns out there were 3 witness' that called police. What would you do?
Sorry for the drawn out story here but I was looking for someone that could help.
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 7:36:42 AM EDT
We had a case like this in Washington.

Our state Supreme Court Justice Bobbi Bridge decided to get trashed and drive into parked cars and try to drive away.

Three other people blocked her in with their cars.

Deferred prosecution.

Don't beat yourself up too bad about not doing it different.

Nobody knows how it could have turned out.  You could have blocked his entrance to the onramp and then he turns around and hits a load of kids going to choir practice or maybe he just gets out firing.

It's good that you care, I'm the same way, but just decide how you will act in the future and then if the situation arises you'll be prepared.

You made a decision and at that instant you believed it was right so you went with what you thought was the right thing to do.

Maybe you'll do differently next time maybe not.

Link Posted: 11/26/2003 8:21:39 AM EDT
You can make an arrest, but keep in mind that you assume all of the liability yourself.  
If you detain them, you could be sued for false imprisonment.  If you hurt them while taking them into custody, you could be sued for that as well.  Also, you don't know who it is you are dealing with.  When I do a vehicle stop, I can run the tag and can get a little bit of info before approaching the driver.  Also there are other people nearby who know that I am doing a stop and I can have them there to help me in very short order (if they haven't already headed over my way).
If you are thinking about taking action against someone, you need to decide if the personal liability risk is worth it.
Personally, When I'm off duty I will not do anything unless there's clearly an immediate threat to someones life.  When it comes to drunks, I will call them in and even follow them while talking the local PD in to their location but I will not take it upon myself to do a vehicle stop.

All that being said, sometimes, you gotta do what ya gotta do...


Stay Safe
Link Posted: 11/26/2003 6:13:46 PM EDT
Given the drunk driver circumstance that you related, I can't imagine what you really could have done to prevent the accident other than what you did. Short of shooting the driver (NOT a good idea!), trying to cut them off and offer your car up as a barrier isn't very realistic (what if another innocent party hits your car and gets injured instead?). We see lots of "tactics" on TV/movies, but reality is very, very different, and situations develop so rapidly that we usually don't have time to plot out elaborate tactics.

>30 years ago I spotted a drunk driver driving head-on at us on our Interstate in MA. I didn't have more than a couple of seconds, reacted by swinging into the right lane (without looking . . . luckily no-one was on my right) and watched with horror as a family got hit head-on and crashed into the median strip. A few cars pulled into the median to help the victims and we headed to the next exit and a pay phone to call for the State Police and ambulance (this was way before cell phones and it was ~1AM). I doubled back and pulled in behind the State Trooper, gave him my statement and offered to come back (I was living in CT) for any court action against the drunk driver. Again it was the right action and only  reasonable action at the time.

In MA, if you do anything like you suggest, you WILL be arrested and charged and likely convicted of a number of charges. If one gets into a shooting with a "bad guy", you will be arrested and likely face more punishment than the "bad guy". When you get done with our court system (civil and criminal), you will likely lose your house, family, savings and your freedom.

I'll never forget one of the police training seminars I attended where an attorney presented two LEOs to us who had been involved in (what was judged to be) justifiable shoots. Both went thru hell for ~4 years and the officer whose PD didn't back him financially lost his house, his wife left him and he used all his savings to defend himself . . . he won but lost everything he had in the process! And that was an "on the job" shooting.

As a non-LEO, one would really have to have a self-destructive wish to get involved with a "citizen's arrest", with the only exception being that you or your family are about to be killed/maimed!

That's my 2¢, YMMV.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 5:34:03 PM EDT
Around here, we have to have the following criteria satisfied before we can accept a prisoner of a citizen's arrest for incarceration:

1. The prisoner is in custody of the citizen (either by actual physical restraint or the prisoner's voluntary submission to the arrest).

2. [i]The citizen making the arrest intends to prosecute.[/i]

3. The citizen has told the prisoner that he has been arrested and for what offense the arrest has been made.

4. [b]The citizen's arrest is apparently lawful, (e.g., actual identifieable crime committed in the citizen's presence).[/b] This means you better be DAMN sure that you can quote chapter and verse of the criminal code when surrendering an arrestee to an officer, or it's going to be YOUR ass for any mixups. You can ONLY USE REASONABLE FORCE to make any arrest and then YOU are responsible for the asshole's safety until you can get him surrendered into custody.

IMHO-make referrals, not arrests. That's to say call dispatch on a cell phone if possible, give them the location and registration number of possible and try to follow the offender as far as safely possible if there are officers on the way so you can give them directions.

Even LEO's don't like to make an arrest without backup so why should you?
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 5:53:08 PM EDT
In okla a citizen can make an arrest on any crime committed in his presence or on probable cause that a felony has been committed. security guards make arrest like this, all the time, as they have no arrest powers granted to them. Like the other threads stated you do this at your OWN perril. ie if the guy turned out not to be drunk but having a medical problem you could be charged criminally with assault and battery, false arrest and so on.Then he can sue you for what ever a jury will give him...... Citizens in Okla can not serve warrant and in fact is a criminal offense to do so. Most courts ( ie municipal)will not even allow citizen arrests on traffic.
that means having to wait for a deputy or trooper to make a state arrest. My advice is I would use citizen arrest sparingly. I would of
used my cell phone probably in your insistance.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 8:56:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Shadow_Warrior:
Ok I have heard the term a number of times but what can a average citizen do to stop crime or in my case witnessing a guy under the influence running red lights and running up onto curbs? I dont wanna be Mr.Jonny Law but but at the same time I would hate to see someone get injured. Thanks in advance for the help!
Christopher
View Quote


make sure its a felony, then get a lawyer. then when you're frustrated by all the trouble you got into by simply using common sense & trying to do the right thing; get drunk & then beat the fuck out of a liberal! because they caused your pain & everybody else's. shit, you'll probably get a slap on the wrist for that compaired to what you'd get by trying to make a citizen's arrest.
Link Posted: 12/25/2003 6:19:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By trippletap:
You can make an arrest, but keep in mind that you assume all of the liability yourself.  
If you detain them, you could be sued for false imprisonment.  If you hurt them while taking them into custody, you could be sued for that as well.  Also, you don't know who it is you are dealing with.  When I do a vehicle stop, I can run the tag and can get a little bit of info before approaching the driver.  Also there are other people nearby who know that I am doing a stop and I can have them there to help me in very short order (if they haven't already headed over my way).
If you are thinking about taking action against someone, you need to decide if the personal liability risk is worth it.
Personally, When I'm off duty I will not do anything unless there's clearly an immediate threat to someones life.  When it comes to drunks, I will call them in and even follow them while talking the local PD in to their location but I will not take it upon myself to do a vehicle stop.

All that being said, sometimes, you gotta do what ya gotta do...


Stay Safe
View Quote


Excellent advice
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