Does a police officer in Florida have the right to arrest a person who commits a crime outside of his/her jurisdiction? It depends. The general rule is that police officers have no authority to arrest people for crimes outside of their jurisdiction. However, there are exceptions. Some neighboring cities and counties have agreements that allow a police officer to make an arrest for certain crimes in the other jurisdiction. Also, there is such a thing as a private citizen’s arrest, and police officers have the same right to effect a citizen’s arrest in a different city or county as private citizens do. Private citizens in Florida are allowed to arrest another person if that person commits a felony or breach of peace in his/her presence.
In this case, the police officer received a call about a vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway. When the police officer arrived, he saw that the vehicle was over the city line. He approached the vehicle and saw that the driver was passed out with the car running. The police officer woke the driver, started a DUI investigation and ultimately arrested the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.
The criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the DUI claiming that the police officer did not have authority to pursue a DUI arrest since the incident occurred in a different city. There was no evidence of an agreement between the police departments in the two cities. The court agreed with the criminal defense attorney for the most part.
The police officer would have been able to make a citizens arrest if the driver’s conduct was a felony or a breach of peace. The standard DUI is a misdemeanor crime. However, the state did make a good argument that a driver passed out in the middle of the road with the car running is a breach of peace. Since the court agreed with this argument, this did allow the police officer to make a citizen’s arrest for breach of peace. However, this did not confer authority on the police officer to go forward with a DUI investigation or DUI arrest. As a result, a breach of peace charge was appropriate, but the DUI charge was thrown out.