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You Can Defend Yourself against Excessive Force in a Citizen’s Arrest

In a recent California Appellate Court decision, the court determined that a person who is being subjected to a “citizen’s arrest” may use self-defense if he or she reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of excessive force by the arresting citizen.

A citizen’s arrest is an arrest made by a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. For example, a citizen’s arrest would occur when your neighbor, who is not a sworn law-enforcement official, takes you into custody for stealing his lawnmower. A citizen has the right to do this if he or she reasonable believes that you, in fact, did steal the lawnmower.

In People v. Adams, the defendant was subjected to a citizen’s arrest in which he resisted with force. He was then charged with a crime for assaulting the person who had attempted to place him under citizen’s arrest. The court ruled that an individual who is subjected to a citizen’s arrest has a right to use self-defense not only when excessive force is being applied to him, but also when he reasonably believes that a threat of bodily injury or unlawful touching is imminent, even if the threat does not in fact exist.

It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney who can provide clarity in terms of your rights. If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case. We can help you.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.