Legal Dictionary

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Citizen's Arrest

Under narrow circumstances, individuals who are not police officers can make a citizen's arrest. Essentially, a citizen's arrest is an arrest by a private person of another private person. The person making the arrest has no right to search the suspect or take any evidence. The citizen's arrest is based on one private person seeing another private person commit a public offense, or the person making the citizen's arrest believing that the arrestee (person being arrested) has committed a felony. A good example of a citizen's arrest is when bystanders tackle a purse-snatcher.