Can Security Guards in Texas Really Arrest You?

February 23, 2024

Security Guards' Authority to Arrest

If you’ve ever wondered whether that security guard at the mall can actually arrest you if you’re caught shoplifting, you’re not alone. Turns out private security guards in Texas do have some police powers, but there are limits.

Stick with us as we mosey on down to the Lone Star State laws and figure out exactly when a security guard can take you into custody. We’ll wrangle with ideas like citizens arrests, use of force, and what “breach of peace” really means.

At the end of this 101 tutorial, you’ll be able to separate Texas law facts from fiction. So let’s saddle up and hit the trail to learn more about security guard arrest powers in the state of Texas.

The Arrest Authority of Security Guards in Texas

In Texas, security guards have limited authority to arrest individuals. As a security guard, you can only arrest someone for an offense that was committed in your presence or that you have probable cause to believe occurred.

Reasonable Force

If you witness someone committing a crime, you can use reasonable force to detain them until police arrive. Reasonable force means using the minimum amount of force necessary to keep the situation safe. You can’t use deadly force unless you reasonably believe that the person poses an imminent threat of serious harm or death.

Citizen’s Arrest

As a security guard, you have the same authority as a private citizen to make a citizen’s arrest. This means you can arrest someone who commits a felony or misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace in your presence. However, unless the offense is a felony, it’s usually best to call the police and report the incident rather than taking the law into your own hands.


Security guards in Texas cannot arrest individuals for minor infractions or ordinance violations. You also cannot arrest someone just because you have a “hunch” they committed a crime.

There must be probable cause, like witnessing the offense firsthand or having clear evidence that gives you reason to believe a felony was committed. If you wrongly arrest someone, you and your security company can face legal consequences.

So in summary, security guards in Texas have limited power to arrest. But when used properly and legally, that power can help keep people and property safe. Just be sure to follow the rules and call the police whenever possible.

What Kind of License Do Security Guards Need for Arrest Powers?

To arrest someone in Texas, security guards need a special license called a “security officer commission” from the Texas Private Security Board. With this license, guards have limited arrest powers, but they still can’t do everything real police officers can.

For one, security guards can only arrest for offenses that happen right in front of them or that they have “probable cause” to believe occurred. They can’t just arrest someone on a hunch or based on another person’s word alone. Security guards also can’t conduct full police investigations or interrogate suspects.

Once security guards arrest someone, they must immediately call the real police. The police will then take over custody of the suspect, investigate further, and determine if criminal charges are appropriate. Security guards themselves can’t charge someone with a crime or take them to jail. They simply don’t have that kind of authority.

At the end of the day, security guards only have the power to temporarily detain someone until the real police arrive. Their license gives them limited authority to keep the peace on private property, but security guards will never have the same powers as licensed law enforcement officers.

If you’re approached by a security guard, remember that you don’t have to answer their questions and are free to leave at any time unless you’re placed under arrest. And if that happens, don’t say anything until the police show up!

Can a Security Guard Really Put You Under Arrest? FAQs on Security Guard Arrests in Texas

Security guards in Texas have a limited authority to detain or arrest individuals. As private citizens, security guards can perform citizen’s arrests, but they must be very careful. They can only arrest someone if they witness the person committing a felony or an offense against the public peace.

What is a citizen’s arrest?

A citizen’s arrest is when a private citizen arrests someone who is committing a crime. Security guards are allowed to make citizen’s arrests since they are private citizens, not police officers. However, they must actually witness the crime taking place in order to make a citizen’s arrest. They cannot arrest someone just based on suspicion.

When can a security guard perform a citizen’s arrest?

Security guards can only perform citizen’s arrests for felonies, public peace disturbances, or public intoxication. If they arrest someone for a misdemeanor not related to public peace, it is unlikely to hold up legally. They must personally witness the criminal act taking place, not just have a suspicion that a crime occurred.

What are the limits of a security guard’s authority?

Security guards have limited authority and are not full-fledged police officers. They cannot conduct full investigations or use force beyond what is necessary for self-defense.

They must turn over anyone they arrest to the local police as quickly as possible. They also do not have the same level of legal protection as police officers if something goes wrong during an arrest.

In summary, while security guards do have the right to make citizen’s arrests in certain situations, they must be very careful not to overstep their authority. Unless they directly witness a serious criminal act, it is usually best for them to call the local police and let them handle any arrests or detentions.

Contact AAA Security Guard Services Today!

If you’re interested in hiring experienced, professional security guards in Texas, contact AAA Security Guard Services. Our guards are licensed by the Texas Commission on Private Security, meaning they have the authority to legally detain individuals who are committing crimes or posing a threat.

Highly Trained and Equipped

Our security guards go through extensive training to properly handle situations. They are also equipped with non-lethal protection like batons, tasers and pepper spray so they can safely diffuse tense circumstances. You’ll have peace of mind knowing our guards can effectively protect your property and the people on it.

Affordable and Reliable

AAA Security Guard Services aims to provide superior protection at competitive rates. We offer security guard services for events, construction sites, retail locations, office buildings and more. Our guards are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Customized Security Solutions

Every location has unique security needs. That’s why we customize our services to suit your specific requirements. Let us know how we can best support you, whether you need an armed guard, mobile patrol or security management services. We’ll devise a tailored plan to keep your building, staff and visitors safe.

Don’t let security concerns hold you back. Take control of your safety and security with AAA Security Guard Services. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect what matters most. Your safety is our top priority.

Telephone: +1 817-677-8803

Office Locations:

320 Decker Dr #11, Irving, TX 75062

1901 Central Dr. Unit 400, Bedford, TX 76021

405 TX-121 Building A Suite A250, Lewisville, TX 75057

4500 Mercantile Plaza Suite 300, Fort Worth, TX 76137

5050 Quorum Dr. Suite 700, Dallas, TX 75254