Florida Jurisdiction Limitations of Police Officers

 

Jurisdiction Limitations

Criminal defense attorneys must be prepared to deal with the issue of “hot pursuit” when defending clients that were arrested by police officers from neighboring counties. Contact Fort Lauderdale William R. Moore Criminal Defense attorneys for any legal questions.

In Fort Lauderdale, criminal attorneys must determine whether there was hot pursuit which would otherwise justify an officer’s stopping a vehicle outside of their jurisdiction: “1) that the police act without unnecessary delay; 2) that the pursuit be continuous and uninterrupted; and 3) that there be a close temporal relationship between the commission of the offense and the commencement of the pursuit and apprehension of the suspect.”

Criminal attorneys have seen prosecutors attempt to justify an arrest where an officer observed a traffic infraction in his city, had to follow the individual to a neighboring city, and then developed probable cause for a DUI arrest. These same lawyers would warn that under Florida law, an officer can follow a suspect into a neighboring community based solely on reasonable suspicion of a traffic infraction, and lawfully make a DUI arrest outside the officer’s city based on the defendant’s conduct in the other jurisdiction. Similarly, unfavorable rulings have resulted for the defense where a officer pursued and stopped a suspect beyond the officer’s jurisdiction, based on a dispatcher’s report of erratic driving combined with the officer’s observations within the officer’s jurisdiction of weaving within the lane of travel.

Practice Note:
If an arrest takes place in another county there are special requirements that all criminal attorneys must be aware of. First off, the arresting sheriff officer must notify the officer in charge of the jurisdiction where the arrest is made. Both officers must take the arrested person before a trial judge of the county where the individual was arrested without unnecessary delay. Under recent Florida law, the failure to notify, may not be reason alone, for defense counsel to suppress the stop.

Fellow Officer Rule & Off Duty Police Officers
Criminal lawyer must also be aware that the fellow officer rule also applies to fresh pursuit situations. That is true even if the officer initiating action is off-duty. Recent criminal courts have found that an off-duty police officer had authority to pursue the defendant outside of the officer’s jurisdiction based on probable cause developed by an off-duty officer while the off-duty officer was still within the jurisdiction. The off-duty officer was also pursuing the defendant and conveyed the information to the on-duty officer, who immediately joined in the pursuit and made the stop, and ultimately made the DUI arrest. Both officers were from the same town, which was not the one in which the arrest was made.

For more information about this type of case contact:
Broward County Defense Attorney William R. Moore
Phone: (954) 523-5333
Email: williammoorelaw@aol.com