Consider this scenario.

You are sitting on a sidewalk by a casino. A security guard issues a warning and then attacks you. They grab you and take you into the casino, becuase they are too lazy to take you across the street and remove you from the property.

They try to call the police but it doesnt work so they let you go.

Was this false imprisonment? What rights to security guards have to attack people, if at all, and what should they have done if they are too lazy to carry you across the street and remove you?


3 Answers 3


Assume that the security guard is not an off-duty police officer. That leaves two kinds of right for the guard:

  • The guard might be acting as a representative of the landowner if the confrontation happens on private property.
  • The guard might be acting with the rights of any citizen who witnesses a probable criminal offense in progress.

As I understand the story, the confrontation took place on the property of the casino (see the 4th sentence). I'm not a lawyer and this is not intended as legal advice, but it looks as if it is trespassing to remain after a warning.

The casino would then have several options, only some of which mean that the police has to come.


Nevada law regarding arrest is given here. A private person can effect an arrest "For a public offense committed or attempted in the person’s presence" (as well as felonies not in the person’s presence). Trespassing is a misdemeanor: the guard, acting as agent of the property owner has given notice to leave the property, the order was ignored, and the person was lawfully arrested. Reasonable force can be used to effect an arrest (e.g. holding a resistant person by the arms) – I assume that is what you mean by "attack".

Now the problem is that under NRS 171.174,

If the arrest is without a warrant, the prisoner shall without unnecessary delay be taken before a municipal court or a justice of the peace or other magistrate of the county wherein such an arrest was made, and such court shall admit such person to bail, if the offense is bailable, by taking security by way of recognizance for the appearance of such prisoner before the court having jurisdiction of such criminal offense.

and NRS 171.178

2.  A private person making an arrest without a warrant shall deliver the arrested person without unnecessary delay to a peace officer. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 5 and 6 and NRS 171.1772, the peace officer shall take the arrested person without unnecessary delay before the nearest available magistrate empowered to commit persons charged with offenses against the laws of the State of Nevada.

There are three options for the security guard. One is to secure the criminal and deliver him to the police station. Another is to call the police to have the criminal taken (by the police) to court. Option 1 apparently was not taken, and option 2 failed because the police are not obligated to perform prisoner transfer services. Which brings us to the third option that the property-owner decides to give up on the arrest. All of this was done according to law, thus this is not false arrest.


Actually, security guards are committing the Nevada crime of coercion mostly. Coercion and intimidation laws exist in most places.


But if the coercer did commit or threaten to use physical force, then it is prosecuted as a category B felony in Nevada. The penalty carries:

one to six (1 – 6) years in Nevada State Prison, and possibly up to $5,000 in fines3

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    "coercion is defined as intentionally using intimidation... to compel another person to do something that he or she is not legally obligated to do." Found the bit you deliberately missed. Leaving private property you have no permission to be on would definitely apply here. Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 4:44

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