citizen arrest, citizen's arrest

DUI Defense Attorney | Citizen’s Arrest

citizen arrest
“This private citizen took the type of action
the law would encourage a private citizen
to take in order to prevent an
obviously intoxicated individual
from continuing to drive on our streets.”

DUI Attorney Lawyer just reviewed an interesting case of DUI / Citizen’s Arrest where there had been an arrest by a lady who saw bad driving / parking by a driver who smelled of alcohol. Here is a summary of that Florida DUI Driving Under the Influence case.

Driver “drove up to where [citizen] was sitting, drove onto the sidewalk and parked her car. The [driver] sat in her car for a minute, then stumbled out of the vehicle and began crying. [The citizen] approached her and asked if she was okay. [The driver] looked at [The citizen]’s son, looked at [The citizen] and then looked at her son again. [The citizen] asked the [The driver] what was wrong and the [The driver] responded that she was looking for her son. [The citizen]  asked [The driver] where her son was and the [The driver] pointed at [The citizen]’s son. [The driver] smelled of alcohol.”

Can a citizen arrest a driver for DUI?

The citizen took the car keys and effectively prevented the driver from continuing on her way. She called the cops and they arrived on the scene and arrested the driver for DUI Driving under the Influence. The driver blew over a .08  The issue before the court – can a citizen arrest a driver for DUI? This is known as a citizen’s arrest.
The appeals court reasoned in the case Excerpts below:
“The Supreme Court adheres to the view that a person is “seized” only when, “by means of physical force or a show of authority, his freedom of movement is restrained.” U.S. v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 553, 100 S.Ct. 1870, 64 L.Ed.2d 497 (1980). In other words, a person is “seized” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment “only if, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave,” even if the person did not attempt to leave. Id.; see also Hill v. State, 39 So. 3d 437, 439-440 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010) [35 Fla. L. Weekly D1455c]. Applying the reasonable person standard to determine whether a seizure has occurred is a fact-intensive analysis in which the reviewing court must consider the totality of the circumstances. Golphin v. State, 945 So.2d 1174, 1184 (Fla. 2006) [31 Fla. L. Weekly S845a].”

“In Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 494-495, 103 S.Ct. 1319, 75 L.Ed.2d 229 (1983), a plurality of the United States Supreme Court held that when the officers identified themselves as narcotics agents, told Royer that he was suspected of transporting narcotics, and asked him to accompany them to the police room, while retaining his ticket and driver’s license and without indicating in any way that he was free to depart, Royer was effectively seized for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Citing to cases such as Royer and Mendenhall, the Florida Supreme Court has also found that “the retention of identification during the course of further interrogation or search certainly factors into whether a seizure has occurred.” Golphin, 945 So. 2d at 1185.”
The appeals court reviewed a Hillsborough County Florida DUI case and stated:
“Appellant cites to Boermeester v. State, 15 Fla. Law Weekly Supp. 576a (Fla. 13th Cir. Ct. 2008), in support of her case. In Boermeester, the defendant approached the gate at MacDill Air Force Base and was stopped by Technical Sergeant Jorde Rosario whose duties that morning included ensuring that only authorized personnel be permitted to enter the base. Boermeester, 15 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 576a. Believing that Boermeester might be impaired, Tech. Sgt. Rosario ordered him to exit his vehicle, to surrender his keys and then contacted the Tampa Police Department. Id. Boermeester was subsequently charged with DUI and filed a motion to suppress which was denied by the trial court. Id. Boermeester then appealed the denial of the motion to suppress. Id.”

“On appeal, the Boermeester court stated that the trial court did not indicate the basis for its finding that there was not a citizen’s arrest. Id. The trial court did not file a written order, nor did it state the grounds for its decision at the moment it denied the motion. Id. The trial court simply stated there was not a citizens’ arrest and denied the motion to suppress. Id.”

“The Circuit Court in Hillsborough opined, “[i]t is therefore with some difficulty that this Court reviews the trial court’s determination” and then proceeded to reverse the county court’s denial of the motion to suppress. Id. Based on the fact that the military guard had testified that he confiscated Boermeester’s keys for the man’s safety and that Boermeester was free to leave at any time, the court held that a citizen’s arrest did not take place. Id. The Boermeester court focused on the intent of Tech. Sgt. Rosario in depriving Boermeester of his right to leave. Id.”
The court ruled:
” The critical point is that based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable person in the Appellant’s position, having had her vehicle moved while she sat in the passenger seat and then deprived of her keys, would not have felt free to leave the scene at that time.”

“The trial court correctly found that the Appellant’s conduct, which occurred in front of the civilian witness, constituted a breach of the peace. See Edwards v. State,462 So. 2d 581 (4th DCA 1985). This private citizen took the type of action the law would encourage a private citizen to take in order to prevent an obviously intoxicated individual from continuing to drive on our streets. See Id. The civilian witness’ actions in lawfully detaining the Appellant until police arrived constituted a proper citizen’s arrest.”


Source FLW Supp 1902 ESTR
A citizen’s arrest is sometimes proper and can result in a DUI traffic stop being upheld by Florida DUI courts.
DUI Traffic Stop in Question? 

Call The Law Office of W.F. “Casey” Ebsary, Jr. at 813-222-2220

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Law Office of W.F. ”Casey” Ebsary Jr
2102 W Cleveland St
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 222-2220
centrallaw@centrallaw.com

DUI Citizen’s Arrest