In Florida, it is against the law to fail to obey the orders of a police officer.
The laws regarding this crime can be found under Florida Statute 316.072. Although this statute is generally applied to traffic offenses, it can be extended to various other situations. It states that if a person is walking, driving an automobile, or riding a bike on a public road in Florida and is given a lawful direction or order by a law enforcement officer, they must obey this order or face certain penalties.
If you are facing charges for failure to obey a lawful order in Clearwater, FL., you are going to need legal representation. At The Law Place, we have a team of some of the best criminal defense lawyers in the state, so contact us now to schedule a free consultation.
Our telephone number is (941) 444-4444, and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Is Meant by a “Lawful Order?”
The definition of a “lawful order” has been a controversial debate in many courtrooms. In general, courts are somewhat silent when it comes to clarifying what constitutes a “lawful order” from a law enforcement officer, and unfortunately, it is difficult to find clear guidelines regarding the topic. This ambiguity is one of the most common defenses in failure to obey cases. Establishing the validity of the lawful order given by a police officer is the burden of the state.
Defenses in a Failure to Obey a Lawful Order Case
There are several defenses available to those accused of failing to obey the orders of a law enforcement officer. They include:
Police Officers Identity Unknown
The state prosecutor must establish that the status of the officer was clear. If the person who was stopped was unsure whether they were actually being given orders from a police officer, the failure to obey charges could be dismissed.
Under the statute, the term “police officer” refers to deputy sheriffs, state troopers, municipal police officers, EMT responders, traffic infraction enforcement officers, fire department members, and traffic crash investigation officers.
If a person used words alone to disobey an officer, this would rarely give rise to a charge of disobeying a lawful order of a police officer. Words usually must be accompanied by an obstructive physical act to uphold this charge.
If an order was, in fact, unlawful, you are not required by law to obey it, even if the order was given by a police officer. And again, the burden of proving that the order was within the law falls to the prosecutor.
The right attorney will review your case and build the best possible defense for you.
What Are the Penalties for Failure to Obey the Lawful Order of a Police Officer?
The crime of failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer is classed as a second-degree misdemeanor. If charged, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to sixty days in jail.
- A fine of up to $500.
- Six months of probation.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight to have your second-degree misdemeanor charges reduced or even dismissed with the right defense. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
Is Fleeing to Elude a Felony?
By fleeing to elude a police officer, you are disobeying a lawful order, and therefore, these crimes often come hand in hand. However, fleeing to elude is a physical act and one that is taken very seriously in Florida, and those accused will face felony charges.
“Fleeing and eluding” is defined under Florida Statute 316.1935. According to the law, it is a criminal act for any driver who knows that they have been given a lawful order to stop their vehicle by a law enforcement officer, to willfully fail to stop in compliance with the order given by the police officer.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you can be charged with a third, second, or first-degree felony. All of these charges come with large fines, probation, and a lengthy prison sentence. Crimes of this nature should not be handled alone; they can only be fought with the help of an experienced lawyer.
What Is the Penalty for Impersonating a Police Officer in Florida?
There are known cases of people impersonating a police officer and giving orders that are perceived to be lawful.
According to Florida Statute 843.08, this is a criminal act and is classified as a felony. Penalties will be based on the nature of the crime in question, for example:
- By simply committing this crime, you will be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- If you impersonate a law enforcement officer whilst committing another felony, the crime is classed as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If, whilst commissioning the felony, another person is killed or injured, the crime is classed as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The crime of impersonating a police officer comes with very serious penalties, but these penalties can be avoided with the right criminal lawyer on your side. Contact our law firm now for your free case evaluation.
Call The Law Place Today for the Right Legal Help
If you or a loved one have been accused of failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer, it is crucial that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner we can get started on your case, the better your outcome will be.
At The Law Place, we work as a team, so you will have many eyes on your case and will benefit from the combined experience of all of our experienced lawyers. With our help, you can achieve a positive outcome and succeed in having your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.