Police in San Diego have arrested a suspected DUI driver after an interesting event took place. Neighbors in College Grove, CA heard noises in the street. When they went outside to investigate, they saw a car swerving from side to side on the road; hitting numerous cars. The driver then exited the vehicle and attempted to run away. Neighbors called the police but then went a step further and held the suspect until the police arrived and he could be arrested.
This case brings up the interesting topic of citizens reporting DUI. Police often rely on citizen tips in catching dangerous drivers. If someone sees someone who is obviously drunk get behind the wheel or a vehicle that is driving as if the driver is intoxicated, they are encouraged to report it to police right away. Likewise, neighbors who witness accidents should report them. But to physically restrain a suspect is never a good idea, so says police.
First of all, a suspect in any type of crime could be carrying a concealed weapon or might retaliate violently. Catching a DUI suspect is not worth risking serious injury or even death. A suspect may also pursue charges against you for false imprisonment. It is illegal in California under Penal Code 236 to restrain, confine or detain someone against their will. Physically holding someone who you think is drunk until the police show up might be considered a violation of this law, especially if they are later found not guilty of DUI.
Ultimately, restraining a DUI suspect is never a safe idea. In the above situation, the suspect was attempting to run on foot which meant his vehicle was left behind. Chances are, even if police could not have caught up with him, they would have been able to identify who he was based on the ownership of the car.