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What is Criminal Liability?

Crimes are generally defined in penal statutes of a state, or the ordinances of local cities or counties. All persons are expected to obey these laws. Anyone who violates a criminal law is subject to a fine, and/or a term in jail, or prison, depending on the type of crime. The potential for punishment as a result of violating a criminal law is called CRIMINAL LIABILITY. Some acts by security guards for which criminal liability is possible include::



        Threatening physical harm or otherwise frightening people when they do not cooperate or confess to a crime.


•Excessive Physical Force

        Where an arrest is made, the law allows only the use of physical force, which is reasonable or necessary to restrain the suspect if they are resisting, in order to make the arrest. Where more force is used than that which the law allows, the arresting party is said to be using "excessive force" and may be held criminally as well as civilly liable. An example of excessive force is the discharge of a firearm in shooting a suspect in order to protect personal property. By law, deadly force is allowed only to protect lives.

•Use of Unauthorized Deadly Weapons

Becoming registered as a security guard DOES NOT ALONE entitle you to carry a weapon. Some weapons, such as knives (Switch Blades & Knife's with blades 2 inches or over), brass knuckles,nun chucks,or sawed-off shotguns, may not be carried by security guards. Security guards cannot carry a gun and/or a baton unless they have the additional exposed firearm permit and/or baton certificate. If they carry the gun concealed they must also have a concealed weapons permit issued by their local law enforcement agency.

•Unlawful Use of Defensive Weapons

Handguns and batons may not be carried by security guards unless authorized by the State Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. Weapons are allowed only after the security guard receives Bureau-recognized training and appropriate permits are issued.

•False Arrest Misdemeanor:

A private person making a misdemeanor arrest may be found criminally liable for a false arrest if the arrest is made and the arresting party did not actually observe the suspect commit the misdemeanor in their presence.Felony Arrest: A private person making a felony arrest may be found criminally liable for a false arrest if the arrest is made or caused to be made by others and the arresting party does not have reasonable cause to believe that the person arrested committed the felony.

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