The police have lots of power, but they cannot arrest anyone, for any reason–even though it may seem that way at times. We’re going to take a dive today into the limits of police powers, and what’s written below may come as a shock to most of you. Well, “shock” may be too strong of a word, but interesting is certainly an accurate description of today’s legal technicality.
If a police officer knows you’ve committed a misdemeanor crime, because maybe he’s watched video survaillance, or obtained eyewitness sworn statements, or whatever the case may be–may he then arrest you?
After all, he’s seen you commit a crime on video, or he’s interviewed the eyewitesses. Good enough for an arrest, right?
Well, not necessarily.
Let’s dive into the real-life case of H.R. v. State, 2020 Fla.App.LEXIS 1734 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020). H.R. was convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense of falsely activating a fire alarm (Section 806.101, Florida Statutes). The officer did not see H.R. pull the fire alarm, but he viewed a surveillance video that showed H.R. and another witness nearby the fire alarm, and the officer then obtained a sworn statement from the eyewitness who indicated that it was H.R. who pulled the alarm. Continue Reading