Here's something I've always wondered about.  Is a citizen's arrest a real thing?

You have probably seen people talk about it in TV shows and movies.  I remember a Tom Hanks movie "The Burbs" where he's yelling, "Citizen's arrest, citizen's arrest" after he discovers human bones in his next-door neighbor's car trunk.

I've always wondered can you actually do such a thing?  Arrest somebody even though you're just an average person on the street.

Well, before you start pulling people over for not using their blinkers when exiting a roundabout (believe me, I would like to), you might want to think twice about performing a citizen's arrest in North Dakota.

First off, a "citizen's arrest" in North Dakota IS a real thing.

It's something you can do, but only in a few instances.  And, it comes with a lot of liability.  So much liability, two different Bismarck Police Officers both told me you are better off just calling law enforcement and letting them do their jobs.

If you do plan to pull off a citizen's arrest in North Dakota, here's what the Century Code has to say about it.

North Dakota's Century Code-29-06-20 When a private person may arrest.

"A private person may arrest another only when the person arrested has committed a felony."

And, you better not restrain the person or you could be held liable if you hurt that person.  One Bismarck Police Officer told me you could really open yourself up to both legal and civil charges if you aren't careful with a citizen's arrest.

As much fun as it would be to arrest some "Yahoo" for not signaling out of a roundabout,  (that's not a felony of course).  You can't legally hold them unless a felony is committed, and anybody who commits a felony isn't probably going to stick around for your citizen's arrest.  You can't restrain them, because if you hurt them, you are liable.  A whole bunch of grey areas that just aren't worth it.

Lets the cops do their jobs.

Rick Rider
Rick Rider

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