Case #: DE 2017-ct-###62
The facts are as follows: The client was operating her motor vehicle on her way home when she came across an accident scene where there were police directing traffic in the middle of the 2-lane road she was travelling on. In slow moving, bumper to bumper traffic, the client was attempting to make a left turn onto a road which her residence is located. A policeman who was directing traffic and was in the middle of the road, told the client not to make that turn because that road was blocked off. The client started to make the turn but stopped. The officer became irate and told the client to pull into a nearby business parking lot. The client complied and was charged with disobeying a police order. We sent an email to the State outlining the statute and the facts of the case, specifically:
Citing to FS 316.072, the crime of disobeying an officer occurs when:
1. An individual is operating a vehicle on a public road.
2. An individual is given a lawful order by a police officer.
3. An individual wilfully fails or refuses to comply with a lawful order.
The client is 72 years old and did not hear the initial lawful command from the officer, therefore there was no wilfull disregard of the lawful order as indicated by FS 316.072. Further, the pca corraborates, that the officer then stepped out and stopped The client vehicle, which indicates that she did, at this point, hear and complied with the order when she became aware of it. Further, the PCA states that the client also complied with the officers orders to pull into a parking lot. The client also complies with the officers request to provide dl, registration and insurance and answers all other questions posed by the officer.
This case seems to be a situation where the client, due to her age and hearing difficulties, was not aware of the initial order from the officer and did not wilfully disregard the order. This position is reinforced by Moyer's subsequent complliance to all other orders issued by this officer.
The State agreed with us and NP'd the case on 10-23.