View Full Version : Misdemeanors not witnessed by a policeman

03-18-2010, 10:14 AM
I apologize for the double-post; however, after reading a reply to my previously posted question, I believe I must have made it look as though my son was arrested - which is not the case. He wants to be a policeman (still in high school) and recently read about "misdemeanor exceptions" in the Florida statutes and is wondering how the police deal with those situations.

So, the question is - as far as Florida goes - when a misdemeanor that is not listed in the misdemeanor exceptions is committed outside the officer's presence, but there are tons of witnesses to the crime (example: assault, theft, any misdemeanor NOT listed in the Florida misdemeanor exceptions) what recourse does the officer have since it is apparent from the witnesses, victim, etc that a crime did indeed occur? Do they just get away with it?

Thank you again...

03-18-2010, 10:34 AM
You do the report and use that to file an arrest warrant, then lock them up later on the warrant.

Indiana would also allow for a summons to be issued onscene for a misdemeanor when an outright arrest isn't allowed, but I don't know if Florida allows that.

BCSD Frank
03-18-2010, 10:35 AM
If a crime has occurred, then file a police report.

03-18-2010, 10:35 AM
Im going to guess is done the way it's done up here. Police arrive on scene to file a report and the complainant is advised to the courts to file a complaint( if it applies ) against the alledged suspect(s).

03-18-2010, 10:47 AM
They don't get away with the crime, they just do not get arrested on the spot. We do the report and file the charges on them. They will then be given a court date. They are still charged with the crime.

crass cop
03-18-2010, 11:04 AM
Not sure about Florida, but thats the situation of the majority of my calls....someone saw someone else do something illegal, (shoplift, punch someone, damage property, etc)....If they are there when I get there and the victim wants to prosecute then I arrest them. They dont get away with it because I didnt personally witness the crime

03-18-2010, 11:34 AM
The officer conducts an investigation of the incident, documents and records all pertinent data and submits the entire package to the District Attorney who decides whether a filing will take place. In most instances, the DA will go along with the officer's recommendation/request for a complaint and charge. The suspect(s) are then notified of the charges and given a court date to appear for arraignment.

03-18-2010, 10:03 PM
affidavit of probable cause attached to an application for an arrest warrant.Send it to the municiple court for the judge to approve and then you can make an arrest. In PA anyway

03-18-2010, 10:34 PM
If someone saw the misdemeanor committed in their presence, they could make a private person's arrest, but that is usually discouraged. If the suspect/subject is a minor in Cali then things change. Under Cali law we can detain/hook a minor for any public offense even if it's not committed in our presence.

westside popo
03-18-2010, 10:37 PM
Like the other LEO said in the other thread it will depend on the circumstances. How about giving an example. BTW you can post a reply here in regards to your question. You don't have to start a new thread.

03-19-2010, 12:30 AM
Depends on the definition of "in officer's presence." We can use all five senses in determining if a crime has been committed. We use the term "freshly committed." Example, I arrive on scene to a assault. Both parties on scene. A guy is laying on the ground bloody, another guy is standing in the area breathing heavy and has bloody knuckles. Obviously, an assault has been freshly committed. I would arrest (this is a very generalized example, of course you'd look at all the facts before determining arrest). Same scenerio, no one has injuries, but one party claims the other "assaulted" him. No arrest, do a report and let the "complainant" sign a courtesy summons.

03-19-2010, 12:58 AM
In VT if the crime did not happen in our presence and there is not an exception to the crime, we issue a citation to appear in court, or we forward the case to the States Attorney's Office and they will tell us to either cite them or not cite them.

03-19-2010, 03:23 AM
Hey Florida folks, is there any exemption for age?

In California, the rules for juveniles (under 18) are a little different. Here, the crime does not have to be committed in the officer's presence. A peace officer may arrest a juvenile if he merely has reasonable cause to believe the juvenile committed a misdemeanor.

We also have other misdemeanor exceptions such as hit and run, certain DUIs, etc.

Do you have the same exceptions in Florida?

03-19-2010, 04:08 PM
From what you're saying FL sounds similar to VA. Here, unless the crime is on a list of misdemeanor exceptions, you cannot make an arrest (including a summons) if the crime did not occur in your presence.

If you conduct your investigation and determine that a crime was committed, you go before a Magistrate and get a warrant for that person's arrest. Then you go and lock them up or cite them, depending on the circumstances.

In VA, a private citizen may not make an arrest for a misdemeanor committed in their presence. Instead, we will sometimes (in a case of he-said, she-said non-domestic assault or disorderly conduct for example), give the information to the complainant and let them go before a magistrate to attempt to get a warrant. If a warrant is issued, the police then execute it. However, when it comes time for General District Court, the crime will be prosecuted by the complaining citizen (unless the defendant is represented, then a Commonwealth Attorney handles it.) The police officers involved will not be in court unless subpoenaed by the complainant.

KS1911 Five O
03-19-2010, 08:45 PM
In Kansas there has to be at least one of three things to have a misdemeanor arrest: it was committed in your presence, evidence of physical injuiry, and the person is a flight risk.

1) In police presence- explains it's self.
2) Evidence of physical injury, ex. person has marks from battery, black eye, scratch marks
3) Flight risk- check suspects history for failure to appears, failure to comply with citations (traffic ticket misd.) wether or not suspect is local- if not local then arrest cause their a flight risk.

If it has been established there was a crime ex. theft, trespass, or what evere misd. crime and victim wishes to press charges then you cite (notice to appear). In Kansas if it's the kinda case where you wanna CYA and there are lots of them, or just one where you wanna send it to the City Attorney to review they will dismiss it.


03-19-2010, 09:45 PM
in florida an officer must witness the misdemeanor offense to make an arrest unless it is a misdemeanor exception. if it is not one of the few exceptions you will be referred to the state attorney's office to seek prosecution. if they file charges they will attempt to get a judge to issue a warrant which the sheriff's office will go serve. if they dont want to file charges due to lack of evidence, time, manpower, funding, ect... then that is the end of the road and nothing further will be done. even with many of the cases i get in which there are misdemeanor exceptions i will refer you to the state attorney's office. if i feel there might be a case i will generate a report of my findings so the prosecutor can pull it up when you go down there.

03-20-2010, 11:09 AM
Thank you all for your answers. I really appreciate them all. Because it was specifically about Florida's misdemeanors NOT committed in the officer's presence, luckydog explained it. The question was about misdemeanors not listed in the exceptions. Now we understand it completely. Thanks again to all, and thank you for what you do!

03-20-2010, 11:44 PM
In VT if the crime did not happen in our presence and there is not an exception to the crime, we issue a citation to appear in court, or we forward the case to the States Attorney's Office and they will tell us to either cite them or not cite them.

Gotta love Vermont, but I will say it has been better since they revised the exceptions several years ago. My big complaint is the felony dollar amount for retail thefts now:mad:

03-21-2010, 10:32 PM
Gotta love Vermont, but I will say it has been better since they revised the exceptions several years ago. My big complaint is the felony dollar amount for retail thefts now:mad:

I agree...oh well, what ya gonna do?!?! lol