Many situations could result in a failure to obey a lawful order charge. Although you may think a charge requires behavior such as fleeing from the police, in reality, a charge can result from seemingly far more minor actions.
Resisting an officer or disobeying their orders in this context includes a range of behaviors you may not do to intentionally break the law. Refusing to provide a law enforcement officer with information, such as your name or address, or refusing to sign a citation, could result in a failure to obey a lawful order charge.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important not to aggravate the situation and argue with the officer at the time of your charge. Instead, seek legal representation as soon as possible to fight your charge in the courts. There are many defenses to a failure to obey a lawful order offense, and a charge does not have to mean a conviction.
The Law Place criminal defense attorneys are highly experienced in failure to obey cases and have a high rate of success in getting charges dismissed or penalties minimized. Contact The Law Place today at (941)-444-4444 for a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Is a Lawful Order?
In Florida, it is against the law to willfully disobey or fail to comply with an order given to you by a law enforcement officer. Although what constitutes a lawful order is not always clearly defined, typically, it is safe to assume that any order or direction given to you by a law enforcement officer, a member of the fire department, or a traffic crash investigation officer is a lawful order. Failure to obey this direction means that you are breaking the law and may result in a charge.
Mostly, the law was designed to allow officers to keep traffic moving and move the public away from the scene of an accident. However, it can apply to any situation and is often used in public health emergencies or situations of civil unrest, such as demonstrations and protests.
Under Florida Law, the Statute applies when an individual is:
- A pedestrian on a public road or in the operation of a motor vehicle or bike.
- Provided a lawful order or direction from a police officer (or state trooper, traffic crash investigation officer, a firefighter on a rescue operation, or traffic infraction enforcement officer) and;
- The individual intentionally refuses or fails to comply with the order or direction that they have been given by the officer.
For a free legal consultation with a failure to obey a lawful order lawyer serving Orlando, call 941-444-4444
Failure to Obey a Lawful Order Criminal Charge
If you do not obey a lawful order given to you by a police officer in Florida, you may be charged with failure to obey a lawful order. Failure to obey a lawful order is a second-degree misdemeanor that may result in a permanent criminal record.
A key element of securing a conviction for failure to obey a lawful order is that the state must prove the defendant knowingly or willfully disobeyed the lawful order.
This second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, and six months of probation. A conviction will also result in a permanent criminal record which can have further implications on your life.
This conviction can not be removed from your record and will be visible to potential employers, schools, lenders, and landlords. This could hinder your ability to secure certain employment or attend school or college. In addition, a failure to obey conviction on your record could be used against you at any point if you are involved in a case in family court, particularly involving child custody arrangements.
Orlando Failure to Obey a Lawful Order Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Common Examples of Failure to Obey
At first, many individuals may think that a charge of failure to obey would come from severe disobedience of a law enforcement officer, such as running or driving away when stopped. However, seemingly minor actions can also result in a charge. Common examples of disobeying a lawful order that could result in a charge include:
- Refusing to give an officer your name or address if they have requested it.
- Providing an officer with a false name or using false identification.
- Giving false information.
- Refusing to give an officer the name or address of the vehicle owner if requested.
- Refusing to hand over your driver’s license and registration when asked to do so by an officer.
- Refusing to stop when signaled to do so by an officer.
- Refusing to sign a citation when an officer asks to do so. This only applies to citations that are not an admission of guilt but an acceptance of the summons.
Click to contact our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers today
What Is the Difference Between Failure to Obey and Resisting Arrest?
In some situations where a failure to obey a legal order charge may arise, an individual is also charged with resisting arrest. In certain circumstances, such as protests or civil unrest, an individual may be charged with both offenses in the same situation. If you are arrested by multiple officers at once, you will only face one resisting arrest charge.
Under Florida law, resisting arrest can be categorized into two separate charges, resisting arrest with violence and resisting without violence. Similar to failure to obey a lawful order, these charges can result from an individual refusing orders from an officer and interfering with a law enforcement officer’s ability to carry out their legal duty. Typically a resisting arrest charge of either category will carry harsher penalties than a failure to obey offense, and a criminal defense lawyer will be crucial to your defense.
To fight your resisting charge, your attorney may argue that your arrest was unlawful. As such, you were free to resist the arrest without violence. However, under certain circumstances, Florida law enforcement is authorized to arrest you without a warrant. If you believe that your arrest was unlawful, seek legal representation and use legal recourse to fight your charges, as opposed to entering into an argument with an officer at the scene.
Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Resisting arrest without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, as opposed to failure to obey a lawful order, which is a second-degree misdemeanor. If you are convicted of resisting arrest without violence, you could face a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of one year in jail.
Resisting Arrest With Violence
Florida law views resisting arrest with violence as a far more serious crime with severe penalties. Resisting with violence is a third-degree felony. You may be punished with up to five years of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Defenses Against a Failure to Obey a Lawful Order Charge
It is crucial that you do everything possible to avoid getting a conviction on your criminal record. Once a charge of failure to obey a lawful order is on your record, it will be there permanently and could impact a range of elements of your life in the future.
If you already have a criminal record, it is more likely that you will face penalties at the harsher end of the scale for a failure to obey a lawful order conviction, such as 60 days in jail.
Regardless of previous convictions, a conviction of failure to obey a lawful order can have a significant impact on your life, including difficulty finding employment. An experienced criminal defense attorney and a strong defense are key to avoiding conviction and minimizing the penalties.
To secure a conviction, an important part of the Florida Statutes states that the defendant must have disobeyed a lawful order. If an individual has disobeyed an unlawful order given to them by a police officer, they have not broken the law. Often a strong defense in these cases is arguing that the order given by the police officer was unlawful and the defendant has not broken the law by choosing not to follow the order.
However, even if you disagree with a police officer’s orders, do not engage in an argument or fight with them at the scene, as it is likely that this will make the situation far worse. Instead, seek legal advice and use the court system to argue your charge formally, where there is no risk of further offenses.
If this defense is used, the prosecution is then responsible for proving to the court that the order given was, in fact, lawful. If the state can’t provide the necessary evidence to prove that the order was executed lawfully, the case may be dismissed, and the charges dropped.
Following the correct procedural grounds throughout a criminal case is essential for the prosecution to secure a conviction. If, at any point during the case, evidence was mishandled or police violated procedure, this can be grounds to challenge the prosecution and potentially have the case dismissed.
A skilled criminal defense attorney will closely scrutinize every element of the procedural grounds of your case and investigate any potential errors that may favor your defense.
A defense under the grounds of protected speech is based upon the concept that it is challenging for any prosecution to secure a conviction against a calm and cooperative individual. Your words alone would rarely be sufficient to secure a conviction of disobeying a lawful order. Typically, to secure a conviction, your words would be followed by behavior such as obstructive physical conduct or violence.
If you did not use obstructive physical conduct or violence and behaved in a peaceful manner, this is likely to benefit your defense.
Unknown Law Enforcement Officer Status
Florida Law states that for behavior to be considered a criminal offense of disobeying a lawful order, the order must have been given to the individual by a police officer or another individual with a legal right to do so. An individual may not be given any reason to believe that the person giving them the order was a legitimate police officer and not an impersonator.
In this situation, an ‘officer’s status unknown’ defense could be used. You are only obliged to follow orders from a person legally authorized to give a lawful order. If there is any doubt over the legitimacy of an officer, and this was not made clear to you at the time of the offense, your attorney may be able to use this in your defense.
The Law Place Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help!
If you are represented by a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place, you will receive a top-standard legal defense against your charges. Our criminal defense lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your offense and scrutinize every detail of the case presented by the prosecution. They will identify any errors or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you and use these to your advantage in your defense.
The Law Place attorneys will work tirelessly to find any mistakes in the procedure that law enforcement or the prosecution have made that could get your case dismissed. They will also gather extensive evidence, such as witness testimony and police reports, to support your defense to get your charges dismissed or minimized as much as possible.
Whether you have a previous criminal record or this is your first offense, it is crucial that you have the strongest defense possible to avoid a charge of failure to obey a lawful order. If you are convicted, and you already have a criminal record, the chances are higher that you may face jail time for the conviction.
If you do not have a criminal record, the chances of jail time are lower, but they are still a possibility. Additionally, if you do not have previous criminal convictions, you want to do everything possible to avoid a conviction, as this will permanently mark your record and impact many elements of your life.
Representation from an Orlando failure to obey a lawful order lawyer from The Law Place law firm will give you the best chance of fighting your charges and avoiding a criminal conviction.
Get Help from The Law Place Today
At The Law Place, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys for anyone facing a failure to obey a lawful order charge in Orlando.
If you agree to representation, we will help you navigate the entire legal process and defend you aggressively against the charges. Contact our team at (941)-444-4444 for a free consultation and to secure your skilled failure to obey attorney today.
Call or text 941-444-4444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form