Hot Pursuit Law & Legal Definition


Hot pursuit is pursuit by a law enforcement officer (with or without a warrant) for the purpose of preventing the escape or effecting the arrest of any person who  is suspected of committing, or having committed, a misdemeanor or felony. Hot pursuit implies pursuit without unreasonable delay, but need not be immediate pursuit. It can also refer to chasing a suspect or escaped felon into a neighboring jurisdiction in an emergency, without time to alert law enforcement people in that area. 

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with hot pursuit:

"Arrest; exception

    Any member of a duly organized state, county or municipal police unit of another state of the United States, who enters this State in hot pursuit and continues within this State in such hot pursuit of a person in order to arrest him on the ground that he is believed to have committed a crime punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment equal to or exceeding one year or to have operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs in such other state, shall have the same authority to arrest and hold such person in custody as has any member of any duly organized state, county or municipal police unit of this State to arrest and hold in custody a person on the ground that he is believed to have committed such a crime or operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs in this State. This section shall not be construed so as to make unlawful any arrest in this State which would otherwise be lawful.  "