Over the past decade, more and more people have taken to the streets in body armor, striving to become real life superheroes. While any wannabe heroes may not be able to develop powers, like Wolverine or Spider-Man, anyone who is brave enough can choose to fight criminals the way Iron Man and Batman do. But is this form of civilian justice legal in America’s finest city? San Diego criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss says “yes,” but only up to a point.
The basic legality of being a superhero in San Diego comes down to how the hero goes about stopping crimes. Citizens arrests are legal in San Diego, but the person stopping the crime is only permitted to use the minimal amount of force necessary. That means you couldn’t run around murdering, torturing, kidnapping criminals like The Punisher and then expect your San Diego criminal attorney to explain to the police that it’s ok because you brought so many people to justice.
But if you behaved like most superheroes from the Golden Age of comics and merely subdued the criminals enough to bring them to the police station, you’d be acting within the law. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t use weapons, even a gun, it just means that you could only use them when appropriate -for example, if the criminal started shooting at you. At that point, even if you were arrested for your actions, your San Diego criminal defense lawyer would be able to explain that you were attempting to perform a citizen’s arrest and then had to use a weapon in self defense.
Of course, there are other laws to consider as well. For example, many weapons you may wish to use in your duties could be against the law -brass knuckles, switch blade knives, most semiautomatic firearms and shotguns with revolving cylinders are all against the law in the state. That’s why, if you are serious about becoming a superhero in San Diego, criminal attorney Peter M. Liss is someone you’d probably want to talk to before you put together your body armor and utility belt. After all, it’s better to talk to a defense lawyer in San Diego about the legalities of being a civilian crime fighter before you get arrested for violating the law with an illegal weapon or by using excessive force against a suspect.
On the other hand, if you’ve always dreamed of being an anti-hero or the world’s most passive aggressive villain, you’re in luck because San Diego law does not require you to assist someone during an emergency. You have every right to watch, even while laughing maniacally.
If you need to know more, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top San Diego criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss. Creative Commons Image by Brett Jordan