ASK A COP — When are citizens arrests allowed in Texas?

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Alice from Port Arthur asks: My husband and I started discussing citizens arrests. Neither of us could factually give details about what entails a citizen the power of arrest. Could you please clear up what is a citizens arrest and when a citizen can arrest? Thanks for all you do to keep us driving safe.

Answer: Everybody should be fully aware of the arrest powers that are entrusted in police officers in the state of Texas, but the state of Texas also empowers ANY person to arrest WITHOUT a warrant. These arrests by ANY person only pertain to felonies that are committed in their presence or any crime against public peace. So this tells anyone who may desire to affect a citizens arrest that they need to be abreast with the felony and misdemeanor offenses in the state of Texas. A very important element to the power of arrest by citizen is “it MUST be witnessed by the person affecting the citizens arrest.” In my opinion, citizen arrests should NOT be a practice that non-peace officers are striving to conduct. Due to the unpredictable and violent nature of most felonies and offenses against the public peace, it would probably be in the best interest to be “A GOOD WITNESS” then to actually get involved and attempt to apprehend a suspect. Suspects push, assault, hit, run from, cut, stab and shoot the highest form of law enforcement in our state of TEXAS – uniformed police officers – so it doesn’t take a genius to guess what they would do to a citizen who tries to apprehend or stop their escape after committing a crime. Don’t get me wrong, your Port Arthur Police Department and all of surrounding law enforcement agencies are thrilled that we have brave citizens who would step up to assist. But we would rather you and others be SAFE and give a detailed description of the actor(s)/suspect(s), like clothing, race, sex, vehicle description, direction of travel, and what CRIME(S) you observed. Now Alice, if someone should happen to affect a citizens arrest, they should attempt to restrain/detain and hold them without using excessive force until police officers arrive!

Officer Rickey Antoine

Horace from Bridge City asks: I need you to straightened this issue pertaining to speeding. A couple of weeks ago I was traveling to Houston and when I got on interstate 10, the speed limit dropped to 65 mph, but it seemed like nobody was going slower than 75 mph. Would that be a reasonable speed since EVERYONE is doing it, or would it still be considered speeding?

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Answer: My constant statement is “you are in control of the vehicle, not the vehicle is in control of you.” I know it’s either tempting of intimidating to join the crowd, but when you KNOWINGLY OR UNKNOWINGLY travel above the posted speed limit, YOU are violating the state law of SPEEDING! The best plan of action in this case is get over to the far right lane and let the speeders have it but you continue to drive legal either at or BELOW the posted speed limit sign. Don’t ever let someone alter you driving behavior because they are in a hurry or just simply want to speed unless it’s for the safety of yourself or other motorists on the roadway. Ask yourself this question when wanting to join speeders: If I was in a department store and everyone was picking up items and running out without paying for them, would I join them or go the register like I’m supposed to and redeem the items?

Cam from Port Arthur asks: Can you please give some tips about driving in winter weather in Southeast Texas.

Answer: We all know in Southeast Texas we don’t know what the weather will bring us: rain, sunshine, lightning, storm, freezing, hail or fog. If we hold our breath we might see that white stuff on the ground, I think its called SNOW! We know we can experience many, if not ALL of those conditions, in the SAME day. My first advice is if you don’t have to drive, stay off the roads during inclement weather conditions. We will have to deal with heavy downpours during thunderstorms as well as iced roads, bridges and thick fog. Excessive speed kills during optimum driving conditions and if we add the element of rain, fog and iced roads, speeding will be your enemy multiplied by 100.  It is advisable for all drivers to move into the right lane and operate the vehicle at a safe speed, even if it’s well below the posted speed limit. If a safe speed for you is 25 or 30 mph because of the weather condition on Highway 69, make sure to turn on your hazard lamps. Here’s a suggestion if your vehicle starts to hydroplane, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction, then straighten your vehicle. Check your vehicle and make sure you have good tire maintenance and good windshield wiper blades now that we are in the winter season. Normally inclement weather doesn’t sneak up on us, so check your weather condition in advance to know what driving conditions you will be facing.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the CREW: Stephen Buzzard Boots Mosley, Lelo mouth of Hwy 69/73 Washington and Tejas Lil Man Morning Star for Ask A Cop live,on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as they discuss the “Ask A Cop” column. Call in your question live at 409-982-0247 or make a text comment at 409-748-6106. Email your questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 and leave a voice mail or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”