Disobeying the command of a police officer is considered to be an illegal act in the State of Florida. Whilst we generally see this law pertaining to offenses that are committed at traffic stops, it can also be applied in other situations as well. Failing to obey the instruction of a police officer is considered an offense and can therefore is punishable by the law, as per Florida Statute 316.072. Florida defines the term ‘police officer’ as a member of numerous bodies of authority, including state troopers, EMT responders, and municipal police officers.
If you are facing charges of failing to obey a lawful order given by a police officer, then the best thing you can do is contact a reputable law firm for advice. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer will give you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in representing clients in your position. We understand that facing criminal charges is a daunting prospect. This is why we offer a free consultation service where you can get reliable and impartial advice from a member of our team. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us now at (941) 444-4444.
How Is the Term ‘Lawful Order’ Defined?
Due to the lack of clarity surrounding the term ‘lawful order,’ there have been many arguments in the past. There are states in which this vagueness has never been cleared up, including Florida. As such, there have been multiple disputes during past trials. One of the most notable examples is the controversial case of Sandra Bland, which occurred in Waller County, Texas. Bland was stopped by a police officer who was conducting a routine traffic stop after seeing that she failed to appropriately signal. During this traffic stop, the officer asked Bland to put out her cigarette, which she refused to do. As a consequence, the police officer instructed her to step out of her vehicle, which she also refused to do. Throughout this scenario, the police officer repeatedly told Bland that she was being given a ‘lawful order,’ but to no avail.
What has sparked controversy, in this case, is that there is no clear definition of this statute. Many have asked the question: was the officer’s request lawful? Despite the uncertainty surrounding ‘lawful orders,’ courts in both Florida and Texas have refused to give further clarifications on what this term actually constitutes.
It seems that the court’s silence on this topic will not change in the near future. We may never have a clearer definition of the term ‘lawful order.’ Fortunately, a defense attorney will be able to use this to your advantage. If you hire a criminal defense attorney with enough experience, they may be able to build your defense around this vagueness.
Contact The Law Place today and schedule a free consultation if you have any doubts surrounding your case. You will be able to speak with a criminal defense attorney who can give you the impartial and confidential advice that you need to proceed. Let us help you start building the strongest defense possible so that you can get your life back on track.
What Actions Are Considered to Be a Failure to Obey Lawful Order?
You can be charged for failing to obey a lawful order for several reasons, including:
- Refusing to give your personal details such as your name, address, and date of birth when asked to do so.
- Giving a police officer false personal details.
- Refusing to give a police officer accurate information regarding the owner of the vehicle.
- Refusing to stop your vehicle or stop walking when a police officer signals or tells you to do so.
- Refusing to give a police officer your driver’s license or registration details.
- Refusing to sign a citation. It is important to note that in signing a citation, you are merely accepting a summons, not admitting guilt to a crime.
Contact a reputable law firm if you have any doubts surrounding the failure to obey lawful order charges against you. A member of our team at The Law Place will be able to review the police report and details of your case before advising you on what steps you next need to take. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
Who Can Give a Lawful Order?
There are numerous authoritative bodies that can issue lawful orders, some of which you may be unaware of. This includes:
- A law enforcement officer. Deputy Sheriffs, municipal officers, and state troopers all fall under this category.
- Traffic crash investigation officers as per Florida Statute 316.640.
- Traffic infraction officers as per Florida Statute 316.640.
- EMT responders and certified emergency medical technicians.
- Any member of the fire department attending the scene of an emergency.
What Penalties Could I Face for Failing to Obey a Lawful Order?
It seems that people are unaware of quite how serious the consequences of failing to follow the lawful order of a law enforcement officer can be. In fact, many people don’t know that it is even an offense and thus punishable by the law. The law in Florida states that this offense is a second-degree misdemeanor and therefore carries a punishment of up to sixty days in jail, six months of probation, and a possible fine of up to $500.
If you are facing charges of failing to obey the lawful order of a law enforcement officer, then you will need the representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At The Law Place, we are proud of the number of people we have helped get their charges reduced or dropped altogether. Our attorney-client relationship is paramount to the success of your case, which is why we offer confidential advice in a free consultation before you make any final decisions. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
What Defenses Can My Criminal Defense Lawyer Use in My Case?
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience, meaning that we have worked with a number of defense strategies. Using general defenses from pretrials and trials that have strong rates of success allows us to better help our clients when building their cases. The following are some examples of common defenses that are used in failure to obey lawful order cases.
Florida state law stipulates that everyone has the right to disobey the order of a police officer if that order was unlawful. Your defense lawyer may be able to prove that this applies to your case, and the state will be forced to provide sufficient evidence to the contrary. If the state cannot disprove your defense, there is a strong chance that your charges will be dropped entirely.
Officer’s Unkown Status
This is another common defense used in cases like yours. You may be able to show that you were unaware of the officer’s status at the time of your lawful order being given. The law enforcement officer must have previously shown you identification proving their legitimacy and making sure you were aware that they were not an imposter.
Protected speech is a regulation that says that a person cannot be charged with disobeying authority purely based on speech alone. Verbally refusing an order is not classified as a failure to obey. Obstructive physical contact or violence must have occurred for a person to be charged for unlawful disobedience. For example, you have been pulled over by a state trooper and have cooperated with the officer, refraining from exercising violence. An experienced defense attorney will be able to use this information to strengthen your case. Remember that it is much easier to convict a violent person than a cooperative one.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Defense Lawyer
Which law firm you choose to hire as your representation can be the difference between having your charges dropped and having to face the full extent of the law. That is why it is so important to ask questions before you make a final decision. Having confidence in your lawyer will make the process much easier, so make sure to do your research first.
Take advantage of the free consultation services that many law firms offer in Port Charlotte, Florida. Make sure that you have prepared questions beforehand so that you can get the right information. Here is a list of questions that you should ask:
- Do you have experience in failure to obey lawful order cases?
- What is your rate of success in these cases?
- Have you worked with clients who faced the same charges as me?
- Have you successfully orchestrated plea agreements in the State of Florida?
- How many times have you worked as a defense lawyer in jury trials?
- How much are you charging for your services?
- How will I need to pay your fees?
- Do you have references from previous clients that I can read?
Asking for references might be the single most important question on this list. If a lawyer cannot show you references from their past clients, then you should avoid working with them. Maybe this lawyer has very little experience, or maybe their previous attorney-client relationships were unhappy. Either way, you must be cautious about who you hire as your representation.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are facing charges of failing to obey a lawful order in Port Charlotte, Florida, then you need a law firm with the experience necessary to fight your case. At The Law Place, we are confident that we can use our combined knowledge to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Contact a law firm as soon as possible so that your team can begin to collect evidence and work on a defense strong enough to get you out of trouble. We understand that facing criminal charges is a daunting prospect, but you do not have to face this alone. We will be by your side every step of the way, ensuring that you are receiving the best legal advice possible.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we are always there when you need us most. Call now at (941) 444-4444.