Join Date: January 24, 2011
First, you must understand the laws of YOUR jurisdiction. Things like reasonable force and length of detention come into play.
God forbid we even get into case law.
For example in California: CPC
198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
or substantial physical injury. You can quickly invalidate your protection here depending on what you say.
692. Lawful resistance to the commission of a public offense may be
1. By the party about to be injured;
2. By other parties.
693. Resistance sufficient to prevent the offense may be made by
the party about to be injured:
1. To prevent an offense against his person, or his family, or
some member thereof.
2. To prevent an illegal attempt by force to take or injure
property in his lawful possession.
694. Any other person, in aid or defense of the person about to be
injured, may make resistance sufficient to prevent the offense.
837. 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.
839. Any person making an arrest may orally summon as many persons
as he deems necessary to aid him therein.
841. The person making the arrest must inform the person to be
arrested of the intention to arrest him, of the cause of the arrest,
and the authority to make it, except when the person making the
arrest has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested
is actually engaged in the commission of or an attempt to commit an
offense, or the person to be arrested is pursued immediately after
its commission, or after an escape.
The person making the arrest must, on request of the person he is
arresting, inform the latter of the offense for which he is being
844. To make an arrest, a private person, if the offense is a
felony, and in all cases a peace officer, 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.
845. Any person who has lawfully entered a house for the purpose of
making an arrest, may break open the door or window thereof if
detained therein, when necessary for the purpose of liberating
himself, and an officer may do the same, when necessary for the
purpose of liberating a person who, acting in his aid, lawfully
entered for the purpose of making an arrest, and is detained therein.
846. Any person making an arrest may take from the person arrested
all offensive weapons which he may have about his person, and must
deliver them to the magistrate before whom he is taken.
847. (a) 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. You can't wait an hour to call the cops. If it takes
them an hour to get there, so be it.
(b) There shall be no civil liability on the part of, and no cause
of action shall arise against, any peace officer or federal criminal
investigator or law enforcement officer described in subdivision (a)
or (d) of Section 830.8, acting within the scope of his or her
authority, for false arrest or false imprisonment arising out of any
arrest under any of the following circumstances:
(1) The arrest was lawful, or the peace officer, at the time of
the arrest, had reasonable cause to believe the arrest was lawful.
(2) The arrest was made pursuant to a charge made, upon reasonable
cause, of the commission of a felony by the person to be arrested.
(3) The arrest was made pursuant to the requirements of Section
142, 837, 838, or 839. That means you are liable for the false arrest suit.
854. If a person arrested escape or is rescued, the person from
whose custody he escaped or was rescued, may immediately pursue and
retake him at any time and in any place within the State.
855. To retake the person escaping or rescued, the person pursuing
may break open an outer or inner door or window of a dwelling house,
if, after notice of his intention, he is refused admittance.
Of course there are so many places where you assume civil liability throughout this. Again this is California and these aren't all of the applicable laws. YMMV due to location.