Bounty Hunters and Citizen Arrests; What is the Law?

TV has popularized bounty hunters and citizen arrests.  But, what can really be done?

Bounty hunters have the same rights as a citizen, not police.

Under Michigan law, a citizen can make an arrest where:

felony committed in his presence;

  1. felony not committed in his presence;
  2. police officer asks him for assistance; or
  3. he is a merchant or security officer of a merchant.

An arrest warrant is not required for a citizen to arrest someone.

But it may not be wise for citizens to arrest people.  Police officers have certain protections. Citizens could expose themselves to liability and criminal charges such as assault, false arrest, or unlawful entry, especially if the arrest is done to harass or is made against the wrong person.

Arrest warrants issued by a judge only give limitation, authority and protections to Police Officers.  When citizens, including bounty hunters working for themselves or a bondsman arrest someone, it is a tricky and dangerous game.