Refusal to Obey Police Officer

Police officers are considered to be of the highest authority for state-related crimes, and therefore, it is the law that their instructions and requests are abided by. This law is utilized primarily to ensure that officers tasked with directing traffic have the authority to direct motorists and pedestrians in a proper and safe manner. In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 90, § 25 dictates that any individual who, while operating or in charge of a motor vehicle, refuses to give his correct name and address or the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle shall be found in violation of this law. In addition, any individual who refuses to stop when signaled by a police officer who is in uniform or who displays his badge conspicuously shall also be in violation of this law. Furthermore, any one who refuses to submit or produce or permit an officer to take his or her driver’s license or certificate of registration shall be held in violation of this law. Any of the above violations will result in a $100 fine.

In order to prove that the defendant is guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. The defendant was operating or in charge of a motor vehicle;
  2. The police officer was either in uniform or had his or her badge conspicuously displayed on the outside of his clothing;
  3. The defendant refused to give his or her name and address to the officer upon request, refused to give the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle to the officer upon request, gave the officer a false name and address, refused or neglected to stop when signaled to do so by the officer, refused to produce his or license and registration upon the officer’s request, refused to sign his or her name in the presence of the officer); and 
  4. The defendant realized that the police officer had made such a command, and the defendant intentionally disobeyed it.
While police officers and other federal authorities demand adherence and compliance to their orders and requests, sometimes individuals are charged with crimes such as Refusal to Obey due to police misconduct or an over-exercise of authority. Instances occur in which the citizen does not understand the police officer’s command or request, or due to extraneous factors, the citizen is unable to comply with a police officer. Although safeguards are in place to protect citizens from police misconduct, society has grappled with misconduct and corruption issues for as long as it has had police officers. Police misconduct can occur in many ways, but the most common instances are found in excessive use of physical or deadly force, discriminatory arrest, physical or verbal harassment, and selective enforcement of the law. Even though police officers swear to protect and serve the community, they are human beings who may fall victim to their own errors and misjudgments which can lead to unfounded charges in Massachusetts such as Refusal to Obey a Police Officer or Refusal to Submit to a Police Officer. If you or a loved one has been the victim of police misconduct and now suffer a bogus police charges, do not hesitate to contact a relentless Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.

Police officials have the shield of the badge and assumed innocence working on their side due to their status in the community, however federal laws exist to claims of police misconduct are investigated and brought to justice.  The key federal criminal statute makes it unlawful for anyone acting with police authority to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States (18 U.S.C. § 241). Another statute, commonly referred to as the police misconduct provision, makes it unlawful for state or local police to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of their rights (42 U.S.C. 14141 [2000]). In situations where you have become a victim and have been wrongfully charged with a crime, an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney will be there on your side.  

Police misconduct is unacceptable under any circumstances and violates a citizen’s civil rights. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is adamant in defending it’s clients against false criminal charges and ensuring that every citizen’s rights are respected and upheld to the utmost extent. As a dedicated criminal defense attorney, Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. has been instrumental in the vigorous defense of his clients throughout Massachusetts for over 18 years. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, our Massachusetts criminal defense firm investigates the details of each case thoroughly and strives to construct the most persuasive defense strategy to reduce or eliminate criminal charges.  Ensure your rights are protected and your freedom is secure; contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy 24/7 by calling 617-367-0450 or submitting the online contact form directly to our office.

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