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Officers Acting Outside Their Jurisdiction

What happens if a municipal officer acts outside the boundaries of his municipality?

If the officer acts outside the boundaries of his jurisdiction, then the officer has no authority to gather evidence in a criminal investigation or make a lawful misdemeanor arrest. As a result, the evidence gathered must be suppressed as a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution if the proper motion is filed and litigated.

In these cases, the court will look at the jurisdictional boundaries and the authority of law enforcement to operate in/out of those boundaries.

As a general rule, a municipal police officer acting outside the boundaries of his municipality has no authority to gather evidence in a criminal investigation or make a lawful misdemeanor arrest. State v. Annatone, 21 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 647a (Fla. 7th Cir., April 4, 2014); Gamache v. DHSMV, 14 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 118b (Fla. 7th Cir., December 11, 2006).

When the record shows that the defendant was unlawfully arrested outside of the arresting agency’s jurisdiction without just cause (i.e. fresh pursuit, mutual aid, etc.), all evidence gathered as a result of the illegality must be suppressed.

When the officer acts outside of his jurisdiction, the state might advance a theory such as mutual aid or fresh hot pursuit. These legal mechanisms allow officers to act outside their jurisdiction in apprehending suspects.

Attorney for Jurisdictional Issues in Tampa, FL

If you case involves the arresting officer acting outside of the boundaries of his municipality, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL.

Our attorneys file motions to suppress and motions to dismiss in cases involving a jurisdictional issue.

Our main office is located in downtown Tampa, FL, in Hillsborough County. Our second office is located in New Port Richey, FL, in Pasco County.

Call 813-250-0500.


Mutual Aid Agreements for Jurisdiction to Arrest

In some jurisdictions, a “mutual aid agreement” allows police officers to make traffic stops and arrests outside of their city limits.


Fresh Pursuit of a Suspect Going Outside the Jurisdiction

In some limited circumstances, the courts have found that the police officer was in fresh pursuit of a felon or misdemeanant or violator of traffic laws which gave the officer the right of arrest outside their jurisdiction. See, F.S. 901.25; Cheatem v. State (4DCA 1982).


Citizen’s Arrest Outside the Jurisdiction

“In addition to any official power to arrest, police officers also have a common law right as citizens to make so-called citizen’s arrests. We do not mean to imply that police officers acting outside their jurisdictions are treated as private persons for the purposes of the exclusionary rule. Rather, we mean that the Legislature, by vesting police officers with official powers, did not intend to divest the officers of their common law right as citizens to make arrests.” State v. Phoenix, (4DCA 1982).


Attorneys for Jurisdictional Defenses in Florida

If your criminal case involves an officer acting outside of his or her jurisdiction, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We understand the limitations on mutual aid agreements, fresh pursuit, and an officer making a citizen’s arrest.

We can help you assert the best legal defenses for your case felony or misdemeanor case.

Call 813-250-0500.


This article was last updated on Friday, September 13, 2019.

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