Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S §28-622 – Failure to Obey a Police Officer, states that a person will not willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a police officer invested by law with the authority to direct, control or regulate traffic.
In other words, if a cop tells you to do something, you are supposed to do it. Obviously, there are some limitations to what they can, or cannot request.
Possible Punishment for Failure to Obey a Police Officer
If you are charged and convicted of Failure to Comply or Obey a Police Officer, you can be sentenced to a class two (2) misdemeanor. This involves probation with anywhere from zero days in jail to 4 months in custody. In addition, a fine of $1,500 with an 84% surcharge can be imposed.
Possible Defenses for Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Officer
One of the most common defenses used is that of lack of clear instructions by the officer. Many times, officers will be using hand-signals and pointing while directing traffic, and they will assume that their meaning is crystal-clear. Most often, it is not. Also, officers sometimes will give commands to people that they need to move their car, without realizing that the person may have been drinking and doesn’t want to commit a DUI in front of the officer. This can be explained to the judge, and successfully defended. Sometimes the officers will scream demands at the people to “step back/stay back” while they’re attempting to investigate some type of altercation. We have seen cases where victims will come running up, trying to get help from an officer, only to be thrown to the ground, handcuffed and arrested themselves. As with any case, everything depends on the totality of the circumstances. This is one of those charges that has a high defense rate.
Additionally, because our law firm fights convictions from all angles, we would assert the right range of defenses and challenges regarding constitutional violations which can apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those that we frequently assert is a “Miranda Rights Violation.” In Arizona, the standard of any incriminating statement, (i.e., a statement which intends to admit guilt) is only admissible into evidence based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or an inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read your Miranda rights, then we can suppress those statements and have any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of Right to Counsel,” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied that request and the questioning continues.
Other defenses which can be used in more serious cases may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, urine testing; finger print analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gun-shot residue testing; computer analysis/closing hard-drive procedures; forensic and financial accounting reviews; etc.
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, flawed photo lineups, witness identification, and inaccurate crime-scene reconstruction.
It is important to hire the right Failure to Obey a Police Officer defense attorney in order to have the charges dismissed. We have handled numerous cases such as these and have had them successfully defended. Visit our case victories page and click on Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Officer in order to view our successes.