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How to Make a Citizen's Arrest

Watch more How to Understand Legal Issues videos: Subscribe to Howcast's YouTube Channel - Learn how to arrest someone while keeping yourself out of legal trouble. Howcast uploads the highest quality how-to videos daily! Be sure to check out our playlists for guides that interest you: Subscribe to Howcast's other YouTube Channels: Howcast Health Channel - Howcast Video Games Channel - Howcast Tech Channel - Howcast Food Channel - Howcast Arts & Recreation Channel - Howcast Sports & Fitness Channel - Howcast Personal Care & Style Channel - Howcast empowers people with engaging, useful how-to information wherever, whenever they need to know how. Emphasizing high-quality instructional videos, Howcast brings you experts who provide accurate information in easy-to-follow tutorials on everything from makeup, hairstyling, nail art design, and soccer to parkour, skateboarding, dancing, kissing, and much, much more. Warning Making a citizen's arrest can put you at risk for physical injury and lawsuits. If you witness a crime, the best thing to do is call the authorities. Step 1: Know the law Know the law. Citizen's arrest laws vary from state to state. Some states only allow citizen's arrests for felonies. Step 2: Follow the rules Follow the same rules as a police officer. That means you must have probable cause that a crime was committed, and you can only use reasonable force to detain the person—though restraining them at all is not advisable. Step 3: Weigh the circumstances Weigh the circumstances. Detaining someone who's selling drugs to a child will be viewed quite differently by the courts than handcuffing someone to a traffic sign for not picking up after their dog. Step 4: Make your move Tell the alleged wrongdoer, "I am not a police officer, but I'm effecting a citizen's arrest." Instruct them to stay put until the police arrive. Tip If there's time, call the police before you make your move. Step 5: Proceed with caution Proceed with caution. If the person resists or flees, let them go and have the authorities take over. Tip Before you take off after someone in hot pursuit, keep in mind that if you chase someone into traffic and a vehicle hits them, you could be hit with attempted murder or manslaughter charges. Step 6: Pat yourself on the back As authorities slap the cuffs on the hoodlum you apprehended, give yourself a big pat on the back for making the world just a little bit safer. Did You Know? In July 2008, four antiwar activists were arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, after they tried to make a citizen's arrest of George W. Bush's former adviser Karl Rove for war crimes.
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