As a private citizen in North Dakota, in certain circumstances, can break into a building to make an arrest even without the authority of law enforcement.

WDAY reported on what citizens are allowed to do if they feel it is appropriate to make a citizen's arrest.

In WDAY's story, Fargo Police told the ABC-TV affiliate that in certain instances, citizens have more rights than police officers do.

We decided to investigate this further by looking at the actual law which can be found here.

We have copied all the laws pertaining to citizen's arrest in North Dakota so you can see them for yourself. The power you have as a private citizen is pretty astonishing and in all honesty a little bit scary.

29-06-20. When private person may arrest.
A private person may arrest another:
1. For a public offense committed or attempted in the arresting person's presence.
2. When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the arresting person's presence.
3. When a felony has been in fact committed, and the arresting person has reasonable grounds to believe the person arrested to have committed it.


29-06-21. Must inform person of cause of arrest.
A private person making an arrest must inform the person to be arrested of the intention to arrest the person, and of the cause of the arrest, unless:
1. The person to be arrested then is engaged in the commission of an offense;
2. Such person is pursued immediately after its commission or after an escape;
3. Such person flees or forcibly resists before the person making the arrest has opportunity to inform the person; or
4. The giving of such information will imperil the arrest.


29-06-22. When a private person may break into a building.
A private person, in order to make an arrest when a felony was committed in the arresting person's presence, as authorized in section 29-06-20, if the person is refused admittance after the person has announced the person's purpose, may break open a door or window of any building in which the person to be arrested is, or is reasonably believed to be.


29-06-23. Arrested by private person - Duty - Taken before magistrate.
A private person who has arrested another for the commission of a public offense, without
unnecessary delay, shall take the person before a magistrate or deliver the person to a peace officer.


29-06-24. Offensive weapons taken - Delivery to magistrate.
Any person making a lawful arrest shall take from the person arrested all offensive weapons which the person arrested may have and shall deliver them to the magistrate before whom the person arrested is taken.


29-06-25. Procedure against person arrested without warrant.
When an arrest is made by a peace officer or a private person without a warrant, the person arrested without unnecessary delay must be taken:
1. Before the nearest or most accessible magistrate in the county where the arrest is
made; or
2. If there is no magistrate in said county qualified to act, then before the nearest or most accessible magistrate authorized to act for the county where the arrest is made.


A complaint stating the charge against the person arrested must be made before such magistrate, as is provided in rule 5 of the North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure.


29-06-26. Who may break door to liberate self.
Any person who has lawfully entered a house for the purpose of making an arrest, or who while therein makes an arrest, may break open the door or window thereof, if detained therein, when necessary to exit the house, and an officer may do the same when necessary for the purpose of liberating a person who, acting in the officer's aid, lawfully enters for the purpose of making an arrest and is detained therein.

Have fun going around and arresting people. See the full document regarding who can make an arrest and when they are allowed to make those arrests. This includes laws for police officers.

[WDAY | North Dakota Legislature]