Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
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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 AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • 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 Attorney Salt Lake Davis 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.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Dismissal - Client was charged with first-degree felony home burglary and facing potential life in prison. Defense analysis revealed flaws in prosecutor's case which led to abeyance agreement intended to lead to a full dismissal of the case.
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Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

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An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

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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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