Can a law enforcement officer issue a ticket outside their jurisdiction?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.
News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

[ASK TROOPER STEVE: Submit your traffic-related questions here]

The question addressed is, “Can Titusville police give you a ticket if you are in the Cocoa area?” The question was submitted by Sherina S.

To put it simply, the answer is no, according to Montiero. But he also explains why the answer isn’t actually that simple.

“Before anyone decides to jump down my throat on my answer on this, let me start by saying the answer is no 99.9% of the time, meaning 99.9% of the time, a Titusville police officer would not be able to pull you over in the City of Cocoa,” Montiero said. “I’m using these two jurisdictions only because those are the two that were presented in the question.”

According to Montiero, understanding jurisdictions and how they work would allow someone to better understand who can do what in what areas.

“We have three levels of jurisdiction that would apply to this question here in the state of Florida. State law enforcement obviously has jurisdiction throughout the entire state. Using the Florida Highway Patrol as an example, they could pull you over anywhere in the state -- from The Keys all the way up to the Panhandle,” Montiero said.

He said a common misconception is that state troopers only have jurisdiction on the highway.

“Now, troopers do predominantly work on state roads but let me be the first to clear this up for you: A Florida trooper can conduct law enforcement duties anywhere at any time in the entire state,” Montiero said. “Whether it is inside the smallest city or inside the largest county, a state law enforcement officer means just that: the whole state. Florida has 67 different counties, meaning that’s a whole bunch of county deputies.”

Deputies have jurisdiction within their assigned county and the cities within that county. Cities are on a smaller scale but the same responsibilities, according to Montiero. Within their city, they have arrest jurisdiction. Outside of that, things can get a little complicated. 

“Back to our example using the Titusville Police Department,” he said. “They would not have their normal police authority outside of their city, meaning you would not catch an officer actively patrolling inside the city of Cocoa.”

According to Montiero, this would also mean that they can’t simply pull you over for a minor traffic violation if observed outside of their city limits.

“We also must remember law enforcement officers have a duty to act in any type of life-threatening situation,” Montiero said. “For example, an officer from Titusville was on their way home and observed a drunken driver all over the road or possibly driving in oncoming lanes or something that would put the public in extreme danger. They then have a duty to act but would need local jurisdiction to respond, as well.”

Montiero said there are also times when a local sheriff will sign what’s known as a mutual aid agreement.

He said those are done during large-scale events or details that include multiple agencies. According to Montiero, the agreements give other jurisdictions that would not normally have police powers the ability to conduct police activities during a certain time and date outside their normal area.

“But at the end of the day, if we are talking about everyday travel, a Titusville police officer would not be conducting traffic enforcement within any other jurisdiction but their own,” Montiero said. “Same could be said if a Kissimmee police officer was traveling through Orange County. They would have no jurisdiction there.”

If you have a question to ask Trooper Steve, you can submit it here.


About the Author:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.