In Florida, most DUI arrests occur after the police officer stops the driver for committing a traffic violation and then claims to make observations indicating the driver is impaired from alcohol or drugs. In the majority of those cases, the police officer works in the city or county where the initial stop is made and where the DUI arrest is made. For instance, most people stopped for a traffic violation and arrested for DUI in Jacksonville are stopped and arrested by a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (although the Florida Highway Patrol also can make stops as well). In Clay County, it is the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
Can a police officer make a stop and a DUI arrest outside of his/her jurisdiction in Florida? For instance, can a Jacksonville Beach police officer stop a driver and make a DUI arrest in the city of Jacksonville? It depends. Generally, the answer is no. A police officer is limited to making stops and making arrests in his/her own jurisdiction. One exception is that a police officer can continue to pursue a driver into the next county or city when the initial violation occurred within his/her jurisdiction. The police officer is not required to stop at the county or city line when pursuing a driver who has committed a traffic violation. There also may be agreements between neighboring cities and/or counties that allow a police officer in one city or county to come over into the next city or county to pursue a person suspected of committing a crime or violating the traffic laws. If that is the basis for an out of county/city stop and arrest, the agreement must be disclosed to the criminal defense attorney and presented as evidence at the trial. If the police officer failed to follow the rules allowing intercity or intercounty stops and arrests, the criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the DUI or other charges thrown out. Also, if the police officer was unreasonable in following the suspect into another city or county, that may be the basis for a motion from the criminal defense lawyer to throw out the DUI or other criminal charges.