CACI No. 1403. False Arrest Without Warrant by Private Citizen - Essential Factual Elements

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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1403.False Arrest Without Warrant by Private Citizen - Essential
Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was wrongfully
arrested by [name of defendant]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff]
must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of defendant] intentionally caused [name of plaintiff] to
be arrested without a warrant; [and]
2. That [name of plaintiff] was [actually] harmed; and
3. That [name of defendant]’s conduct was a substantial factor in
causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
[A private person does not need to physically restrain a suspect in order
to make a citizen’s arrest. A private person can make a citizen’s arrest
by calling for a peace officer, reporting the offense, and pointing out the
New September 2003; Revised December 2011
Directions for Use
Give CACI No. 1404, False Arrest Without Warrant - Affırmative Defense - Private
Citizen - Probable Cause to Arrest, if applicable, immediately after this instruction.
If the plaintiff is seeking nominal damages as an alternative to actual damages,
insert the following paragraph above element 2:
If you find the above, then the law assumes that [name of plaintiff] has been
harmed and [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] is entitled to a nominal sum such as
one dollar. [Name of plaintiff] is also entitled to additional damages if [he/she/
nonbinary pronoun] proves the following:
The second sentence, along with the final two elements of this instruction, should be
omitted if plaintiff is seeking nominal damages only. Read “actually” in the second
element only if nominal damages are also being sought.
Sources and Authority
“Arrest” Defined. Penal Code section 834.
“False arrest and false imprisonment are the same tort. False arrest is a way of
committing false imprisonment.” (Cox v. Griffın (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 440, 446,
fn. 6 [246 Cal.Rptr.3d 185].)
“It has long been the law that a cause of action for false imprisonment is stated
where it is alleged that there was an arrest without process, followed by
imprisonment and damages. Upon proof of those facts the burden is on the
defendant to prove justification for the arrest.” (Cervantez v. J.C. Penney Co.
(1979) 24 Cal.3d 579, 592 [156 Cal.Rptr. 198, 595 P.2d 975].)
‘[T]he delegation of the physical act of arrest need not be express, but may be
implied from the citizen’s act of summoning an officer, reporting the offense, and
pointing out the suspect.’ (Johanson v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1995) 36
Cal.App.4th 1209, 1216 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 42], internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 511, 512
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 42, False Imprisonment and False Arrest,
§ 42.22 (Matthew Bender)
22 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 257, False Imprisonment
(Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 13:8-13:10 (Thomson Reuters)

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