Ask Trooper Steve: Can border patrol officers pull you over?

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve was asked on Thursday, “Can (border patrol agents) pull you over at will, or how does that work?”

“This is a great question because we are a border state and with that comes a lot of federal law enforcement,” said Montiero.

If you’re not sure who the border patrol is within our area, they are the white vehicles with the large green striping through it. Anywhere there is a port of entry or some type of border availability, you will see the presence of Border Patrol.

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Being so close to Cape Canaveral, and of course with international airports everywhere, there comes the presence of Border Patrol. They enforce criminal law within 100 miles of any port of entry. However, Montiero said their jurisdiction is limited if you happen to commit a traffic violation.

“Border Patrol cannot write simple citations. What I mean by simple citations would be something to the means of a speeding citation or an equipment violation,” Montiero said. “Their primary focus is immigration enforcement. For example, a Florida state trooper has state jurisdiction in which they can enforce all state laws within the state of Florida. A border patrol agent would not have this authority. They can only enforce federal law within the bounds of their jurisdiction.”

Montiero said they do have roving patrols. Roving patrols include areas within and out of that 100-mile radius. Unlike a state trooper that needs probable cause that a law is violated in order to stop a car, a border patrol agent would need simply reasonable suspicion when it comes to immigration enforcement to temporarily stop a vehicle.

“They would not be able to use a speeding violation as the primary means of the stop,” Montiero said. “Of course, the state trooper within me needs to remind you of a few things. If something was to occur in front of that border patrol agent that could cause imminent harm or death to the public, that border patrol agent has a duty to act. Local law enforcement would then be notified. Remember, they have radios too.”

If something was occurring, and they needed to notify local law enforcement, it would occur very quickly, he said.

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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.