Can a police officer issue me a ticket if he’s outside his own jurisdiction?

There are many myths and untruths floating about concerning the powers that a police officer holds in different states and whether peace officers have the ability to arrest and/or ticket people outside of their own jurisdictions.

The simple answer to this question is “yes,” they have every right to do this, otherwise police officers would be liable for nearly every arrest they made or ticket they wrote up because of jurisdiction concerns. In reality, police officers hold quite a bit of power and they are able to cross jurisdictions when the need arises. They are also very accommodating of each other in such situations and will help each other out when needed.

Police officers are given many powers as part of their duty. In most states police officers can issue tickets in their jurisdictions as well as those that abut theirs. However, in some states, such as California a police officer is given the power to ticket people in any city or part of the state as their “peace officer” status covers the entire state. Most officers simply ask that if a police officer is not working in his/her own jurisdiction to alert the officers or station that would usually cover that jurisdiction as a courtesy.

However, in some states a police officer can only give you a ticket if the infraction occurred in their jurisdiction and they chased you into a neighboring one. Remember that in such cases police officers tend to work together and the original police officer will generally request assistance from his/her colleagues in the next jurisdiction if so required. Should that happen then you will end up being ticketed regardless.

All this to say that before contesting the validity of your ticket based on the jurisdiction of the police officer who gave you the ticket, it is best to find out what your state’s policing laws cover. You might be surprised to discover that police officers in your state have the power to arrest and/or ticket people in every part of the state – and if that is the case, then do not expect your case to hold up in court unless you have some other valid reason for contesting your traffic ticket.

In the end it is best to simply stick to the state’s road and traffic rules and to drive with courtesy for your fellow drivers. Many of the accidents that occur are due mainly to inconsiderate and rushed driving. If we all just drove at the speed limit, stopped when told to stop, yielded at the appropriate times and gave others the kind of courtesy we would expect in return, traffic accidents would be reduced drastically.

Traffic Tickets   |  July 28th, 2010    | 

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