Here in the great state of Texas, we prefer our arrests to come hand in
warrants. Warrants mean that a neutral and detached magistrate has determined that
there is probable cause to arrest the individual. But, despite our preferences,
warrantless arrests happen every day, and they're justified!
Warrantless arrests in Texas are governed by statutory exceptions to the
warrant requirement. That being said, an officer can arrest an individual
without a warrant in a handful of certain situations. Those situations
are specifically outlined in Chapter 14 of the Texas Code of Criminal
Interestingly enough, Article 14.01(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
allows for private citizens to also make arrests. Article 14.01(a) reads:
"A peace officer
or any other person, may, without a warrant, arrest an offender when the offense is committed
in his presence or within his view, if the offense is one classed as a
felony or as an offense against the public peace."
So, in Texas, when a private citizen makes an arrest after viewing the
offender commit afelony or offense against the public peace, he is not a vigilante because he has thelegal authority for his actions. This compared with the actions of Batman, the
current pop culture crime-fighting citizen, differs in the sense of necessity.
Batman seeks to end the evil in Gotham ever since the murder of his parents.
And, in order to stop the "bad guys," sometimes Batman is forced
to break laws himself.
Article 14.01(a) does not promote citizens to seek and fight crime. The
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure instead allows private citizens to go
ahead and make a citizen's arrest if in fact certain crimes are happening
in their view, specifically felonies and offenses against public peace.
It's not that we don't love Batman, because we do. But, despite
good intentions, breaking the law results in criminal charges yourself.
Everyone wants to liberate our communities of evil and wrongdoing, but
that should be left to the criminal justice system and our officers.
But, next time you stumble upon a felony in progress or an offense against
public peace, remember Article 14.01(a) and your lawful ability to arrest