When a police officer stops you for a DUI, the last thing going through your mind is whether the officer is in the correct jurisdiction. This information, however, is a critical aspect of any case, as an out of jurisdiction arrest is illegal. But how are you supposed to know who can – and can’t – arrest you for driving under the influence? So, which police agencies are legally allowed to make a DUI arrest?
Who Can Make a DUI Arrest in Florida?
Generally speaking, a police officer can only arrest a person in their jurisdiction. What this essentially means is that an officer from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department cannot detain a person in Miami-Dade, and likewise, a Miami-Dade officer cannot arrest someone in Broward. That’s not to say, however, that an officer out of their jurisdiction cannot stop someone who commits a crime, as these officers have the same rights as citizens to make a “citizen’s arrest.”
What Is a Citizen’s Arrest?
Under the law, a citizen has the right to arrest those who commit either a felony or a breach of the peace. What this means is that a citizen can hold a person who they witness committing a crime until the relevant authorities can take them away. In most cases, however, a DUI is not considered a felony unless it involves a severe injury or fatality.
Where no felony has occurred, a citizen’s arrest may occur for a breach of the peace – which is a generic term encompassing a wide range of questionable acts. Most cases of disturbing the peace include an element of causing a disturbance to others, meaning many DUIs likely would not be considered a breach of the peace. This would only apply if you were driving erratically, or were a direct threat to others on the road.
What Happens If an Officer Out of Jurisdiction Arrests You for DUI?
If an office outside of their jurisdiction arrests you for driving under the influence, you may be able to fight the charges because they overstepped not only their rights as an officer but also a private citizen. If you can prove that your actions were not in breach of the peace and that they held you illegally, the judge may dismiss the charges, and you may have a countersuit against the officer for false imprisonment.
Contact an Experienced South Florida DUI Attorney
If you feel you are wrongly arrested by a police officer in Miami – or anywhere else in South Florida – make sure you contact an experienced and determined DUI defense attorney right away. Call Miami’s premier criminal defense firm – Piotrowski Law. Chad Piotrowski has an extensive background in aggressively defending his clients from charges ranging from DUIs and marijuana possession to armed drug trafficking and murder. If you are looking for an experienced legal defense lawyer who will fight tirelessly for you, call the Law Offices of Chad Piotrowski today at 1 (305) 204-5000 for your free consultation.