Is it possible for a police officer to arrest you when outside his / her own jurisdiction? The answer is a qualified ‘yes,’ but there are definitely some circumstances when an out of jurisdiction detention could be considered unlawful. This doesn’t mean you can evade the law and get away with it, but it does mean you should be alert to your rights. Just being arrested can be at the very least an inconvenience and often much more. An arrest may mean a night or two in jail. It may mean having to find an attorney to help defend you against an unjustified allegation. It might even affect your relationship with your employer.
What it means by ‘outside of jurisdiction’
Police officers across Florida are employed within a certain geographical jurisdiction, typically a county. Technically, every police officer is restricted to his or her own jurisdiction when it comes to stopping or detaining someone. However, there are a number of circumstances in which an officer can legally detain someone suspected of breaking the law when outside his or her own jurisdiction.
Justifications for out of jurisdiction arrests
What an officer can and cannot do is quite specific in Florida. Here are some of the main reasons for an out of jurisdiction lawful stop or detention:
• The officer is in ‘fresh pursuit’ across the boundary of his / her jurisdiction; • The officer suspects that a felony is taking place e.g. a burglary; • A mutual aid agreement as defined by Florida statute 23.122 has been established between two or more different police jurisdictions; • The officer is not acting as a police officer, but as a citizen.
These justifications for a detention may seem to pretty well everything. A more detailed examination, however, reveals just why some officers actually act unlawfully when detaining someone for a traffic infraction or a misdemeanor outside their jurisdiction.
For example, the ‘citizen’s arrest’ can only be for the same sorts of things as any other citizen. An out of jurisdiction officer can only make a citizen’s arrest if they have already witnessed a felony or a breach of the peace that is potentially a threat to the safety of the public. Under these circumstances, a police officer is only as powerful as a plumber or a bank manager.
That means that if you are stopped by an out of jurisdiction officer acting as a ‘citizen’ for speeding it will probably mean it is an unlawful detention, as determined by the 4th Amendment, even if the officer detains you while he or she calls on another officer from the right jurisdiction.
What should you do if you believe that you were detained by an out of jurisdiction officer?
The first thing you should do if arrested or detained for any offense, however justified it might be, is to contact an attorney. This is your right under the Fifth Amendment. Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, will be able to determine whether the officer was behaving within the law when you were detained. If the detention was unlawful, he will file a ‘Motion to Suppress’ and whatever charge you have been accused of, unless it is a felony, could be dismissed. You can contact Albert Quirantes in Miami at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.