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Utah Police Jurisdictional Limits

Can a Utah police officer arrest a person outside the city limits or outside of the county of the officer's normal jurisdiction?

The belief that a police officer has to stop at the county line or at a city boundary is a mistaken belief. A police officer's authority outside of his/her normal jurisdiction can include making a traffic stop, issuing a criminal citation, conducting an investigation, pursuing a suspect, or making a formal arrest.

In general, police officers will exercise their authority within the jurisdiction of the city or county in which they are employed. Certain law enforcement officers (Utah Highway Patrol, SBI, etc.) have statewide jurisdiction. But even local police officers or county sheriff's deputies may exercise their authority beyond their normal jurisdictions under certain circumstances.

The authority to act outside of a police officer's normal jurisdiction is governed by Utah Code 77-9-3. This statute provides a law enforcement officer who is authorized by any governmental entity in the State of Utah (e.g., a city or county), to exercise authority beyond the officer's normal jurisdictional limits in the following circumstances:

  • when the officer is called to assist officers from another jurisdiction;
  • when the officer is participating in a criminal investigation that relates to activity that originated in the officer's normal jurisdiction and the officer is working in cooperation with the local authorities;
  • when a "public offense" (i.e. criminal offense - misdemeanor or felony) is committed in the presence of the officer; and
  • when the officer is engaged in "fresh pursuit" of a suspect, and the purpose of the pursuit is to arrest and hold that person in custody or to return the suspect to the offense where the offense was committed.
Note that this statute does not provide Utah peace officers with jurisdiction outside the State of Utah, but only within the State. Further, this statute requires officers to notify and receive authority from local law enforcement authorities prior to taking action when possible, or to notify local authorities as soon as reasonably possible if it is not feasible to obtain authority prior to taking action under this section.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerIf you have been arrested or cited for a criminal offense in Utah, choosing the right criminal attorney to handle your case can be one of the most important decisions you make. With experience defending cases ranging from capital murder to DUI, and virtually everything in between, we have the knowledge, skills, and tenacity needed to help you get the results you need.

Whether your case involves misdemeanor or felony charges, the consequences of conviction can be serious. Contact us today to see how the right criminal defense attorney can help you.

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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
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  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
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With decades of combined experience, our criminal defense team attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you achieve the results you need. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. Choosing the best attorney to defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make....

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A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

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Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah - Reasons to Hope

Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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