Can an ordinary person legally arrest another person in New York State? Let's take a look at what the law says about it in New York State.

What Is A Citizen's Arrest?

According to Wikipedia,

A citizen's arrest is an arrest made by a private citizen – that is, a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official.


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Is A Citizen's Arrest Legal In New York State?

In New York State, a citizen can legally arrest another citizen. The crazy part is that they can do it at any time and if the person flees, the person attempting to make the arrest can use physical force.

A person may arrest another person for an offense pursuant to section 140.30 at any hour of any day or night. Such person must inform the person whom he is arresting of the reason for such arrest unless he encounters physical resistance, flight or other factors rendering such procedure impractical. In order to effect such an arrest, such person may use such physical force as is justifiable pursuant to subdivision four of section 35.30 of the penal law.

In 2021, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris pitched a bill that would place limits on citizen's arrests. He said,

Citizen’s arrests are a dangerous and historically abused practice that should not be allowed to continue. It’s past time to end laws like this that have been used by racists to advance their bigoted goals.

Citizen’s arrest statutes remain the same as they were in the 1970s.

Under current law, residents can legally 'arrest another person for an offense ... at any hour of any day or night” and “may use such physical force as is justifiable.'

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