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Batman and the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


Here in the great state of Texas, we prefer our arrests to come hand in hand with 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 Procedure.

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 the offender.