Experienced Legal Advocacy in Florida

STOPPED BY AN OFFICER OUTSIDE OF HIS JURISDICTION; LAWFUL "CITIZENS ARREST", OR UNLAWFUL DETENTION?

Can an officer stop or detain you when he is outside of his jurisdiction? In limited circumstances yes, and if the office has done so illegally, all of the evidence that has been gathered as a result of the unlawful detention will be thrown out of court.

Officers are employed to serve the geographic boundary of the department in which they work. Unless one of the following circumstances exist, and officer is not allowed to stop or detain someone outside of their jurisdiction:

  1. there is a mutual aid agreement (An agreement between 2 or more law enforcement agencies that authorizes officers to respond across jurisdictional boundaries, Fla. Stat. § 23.122).
  2. the officer is in fresh pursuit from his own jurisdiction, Fla. Stat. § 901.25(1).
  3. The officer has witnessed a felony,
  4. The officer is acting as a citizen, and is making a “Citizens Arrest” for a breach of the peace.

A citizen is authorized to make an arrest only when a citizen witnesses a felony committed, or a breach of the peace. A breach of the peace must be more than the commission of a civil traffic infraction, and it must pose a threat to the safety and order of the public.

In essence, if a police officer stops someone outside of his jurisdiction for speeding, absent fresh pursuit from his own jurisdiction or a mutual aid agreement, he has no more rights to detain someone that a banker, electrician or a plumber. The fact that he has a gun, badge and police cruiser doesn’t give him any additional justification to allow him to stop you for speeding when he isn’t in the jurisdiction in which he works.

The experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorneys at Taracks & Associates, have seen DUI charges that have been based upon a traffic stop that was initiated by an officer outside of his or her jurisdiction. Since this issue is decided on a case by case basis, it is imperative to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so crucial evidence, including digital police records can be secured to determine if the officer’s actions are justified as a Citizen’s Arrest.

For example, if a car is traveling over the center line forcing other vehicle to run off the road, then that has been determined to warrant an off-duty out-of-jurisdiction police officer to lawfully effect a Citizen’s Arrest. This type of driving all over the road is considered a breach of the collective peace of the people due to the fright that this type of egregious driving instills on others on the roadway.

An out-of-jurisdiction police officer cannot stop someone just for a traffic infraction such as speeding, failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or even driving on the wrong side of the road when there are no other cars that have to avoid the improper driving.

It is important to note, that when an out-of-jurisdiction officer makes a stop based upon a Citizen’s Arrest, he must have probable cause that a breach of the peace has occurred prior to the detention began. Often times when an officer stops someone for an out-of-jurisdiction breach of the peace “DUI”, that officer will either call another in jurisdiction officer to conduct the DUI investigation. When that happens, the traffic stop is not considered a breach of the police Citizen’s Arrest, but a temporary detention to investigate a potential DUI.

That type of police action is subject to a Motion to Suppress, and if granted, the entire case of DUI can be thrown out of court. A Citizen’s Arrest traffic detention by an out-of-jurisdiction cannot justify a temporary detention to investigate further. If an officer does not have sufficient facts to establish probable cause for an arrest when he stops someone outside of his jurisdiction, then his conduct will be considered in violation of the 4th Amendment protection from unlawful searches and seizures.

How do you know if the officer had probable cause that you committed a breach of the peace when he stopped you outside of his jurisdiction? By calling 813-281-2897 for a Free Consultation with one of the experienced Tampa DUI Attorney at Taracks & Associates, to discuss the facts of you pending DUI.

Time is of the essence since, you only have 10 days to request a Formal Review from the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHMSV). A Formal Review Hearing is conducted by DHSMV in which Subpoenas are issued by us, and the officers under subpoena must appear and testify about their role in the DUI case. We get to ask the questions without prosecutors being present to try to “tip-off” the officer to a weakness of their case.

Categories