In Florida, refusing to comply with a police officer’s order is a crime. However, the order must be lawful and justified. This is known as failure to obey a lawful order, listed by Florida Statute 316.072. Although this statute generally deals with traffic-related offenses, it can also apply to other situations as well.
Essentially, if a police officer gives you a lawful order in the course of a traffic stop, you are legally obligated to obey. There are severe penalties for the crime of failure to obey a lawful order, so it is in your best interest to do as the police officer says even if you disagree. However, there are legal defenses available to you if you are charged with failure to obey a lawful order, especially if the order was unlawful or the identity of the police officer was unclear.
If you or a loved one has been charged with failure to obey a lawful order, you have options. Contact The Law Place to have a team of qualified lawyers examine the charges against you and develop the best legal defense possible. Our law firm has been serving Bradenton, FL., for years and can offer top-notch legal aid for you during this trying time.
Call The Law Place now at (941) 444-4444.
What Is a Lawful Order or Direction by a Police Officer Under Florida Law?
The definition of what constitutes a “lawful order” in Florida has been somewhat controversial. Often, lawful orders change depending on which court, judge, and jury the defendant is facing. In this way, it is hard to nail down an exact definition of a lawful order.
Generally speaking, if you are committing a crime or putting other people or yourself at risk with your actions, law enforcement officers are within their rights to order you to stop. You can use this as a benchmark for lawful orders.
However, a lawful order is still a legally ambiguous term. This can be a double-edged sword. Although police officers can allege that a lawful order was not obeyed, a qualified defense lawyer can argue that the order was, in fact, unlawful. In this way, the validity of an order is not a given. It is up to the state prosecutor’s office to prove that the order was lawful, and they must meet the burden of proof to secure a conviction.
If you are confused or concerned about the validity of an order given to you by law enforcement, contact The Law Place today. We will examine the legal precedent set by previous cases to determine whether you were required to follow the order or direction. A criminal defense attorney will aggressively defend you against criminal charges stemming from illegal or unjustified orders from police officers.
What Are the Penalties for Failure to Obey Lawful Order in Bradenton, FL?
Failure to obey the lawful order of a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor in the second-degree. If convicted of the crime, you could face serious penalties, including:
- 60 days in jail.
- Fine up to $500.
- 6-months of probation.
- Criminal record.
As you can see, failure to obey a lawful order is a serious charge. If combined with other criminal charges, you can be sentenced to much more than 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The Law Place is here to help defend you against any criminal charges. In many of our previous cases, we were able to have misdemeanor charges against our clients reduced or even dismissed. If failure to obey a lawful order isn’t the only criminal charge you are facing, you need a qualified and experienced legal team to craft a comprehensive defense. Schedule your free consultation with The Law Place today to find out what we can do for you.
What Are Potential Defenses for Failure to Obey Lawful Order Charges?
Here at The Law Place, we can employ several strategies to defend you from charges of failure to obey the lawful order of a law enforcement officer. These can include but are not limited to:
- The identity of the police officer was unclear – A police officer must have made their identity clear. In traffic stops, the police officer usually must be dressed in a uniform or another easily identifiable article of clothing identifying them as police. There are recorded instances of civilians dressed as police giving out orders, so even this does not guarantee their identity. Police must use their lights and/or sirens when conducting a traffic stop as well.
- Freedom of speech and right to remain silent – You have the right to remain silent in most circumstances, and you also have the right to say whatever you want to police. Refusing to answer police questions is within your rights. However, the police may be allowed to arrest you for not giving up your name or personal details when investigating a criminal act in progress. You cannot be charged with failure to obey a lawful order just for saying or not saying something to the police.
- The order was unlawful – If the prosecution fails to prove that a police officer’s order was lawful, or a judge deems the order unlawful, the charge can be dismissed immediately. You can’t be found guilty of disobeying a lawful order if the order was unlawful.
If you are being charged with misdemeanor failure to obey a lawful order, you need to seek qualified legal counsel from an attorney quickly. Police will often retroactively justify their actions, so your lawyer needs to have access to all relevant details as soon as possible to be able to refute any illegitimate claims law enforcement may make in court. An excellent criminal defense lawyer is your best bet at beating your case, so contact The Law Place now to get the best legal counsel in Bradenton, FL.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Have you or a loved one been charged with failure to obey a lawful order or direction from a police officer? Are you worried about potential jail time, fines, and having a criminal record?
Contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation regarding your criminal case. Our law firm has combined experience of over 75 years dealing with cases similar to yours and can offer unparalleled legal aid through the entire trial process. Our attorneys never work alone. Every lawyer from The Law Place operates as a team on every case, guaranteeing you a thorough and comprehensive defense against the charges you face.
You can call our legal hotline any hour of the day. Our representatives are available 24/7 to give you advice and schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.