Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer
Like many other cities, Grand Rapids, Michigan has an ordinance which makes it illegal to disobey a police officer. Specifically, a person may not knowingly and willfully do any of the following:
1. Assault, batter, resist, or obstruct any police officer in the performance of his duties.
2. Fail or refuse to obey a lawful order that is issued in the performance of the officer’s duties, as long as the officer is in uniform, or identifies or offers to identify himself as a law enforcement officer.
3. Fail or refuse to identify themselves when requested to do so by an officer who is attempting to issue them a ticket.
4. Leave the scene before identifying themselves after being pulled over by an officer.
5. Escape or attempt to escape lawful police custody.
6. Give false information in connection with an official investigation or make a false report of a violation of the law to any officer, official, or city employee who is working in their official capacity.
The penalty for violating this city ordinance is a fine of up to $500.00, up to 90 days in jail, or both.
What is Lawful?
Even lawyers and judges need to rely on research to determine specific issues. A person who is in the already stressful situation of being in police custody or having an officer order them to do something may not be able to determine whether or not the officer is acting lawfully. The police are not likely to honor a request for a “time out” so that the person they are putting into custody or ordering around can look up the law, assuming they even know where to find it.
Accordingly, refusing to obey an order to attempting to escape custody on the grounds that you believe that the officer is not acting lawfully can be very risky. Not only can it be difficult to make the determination of lawfulness in the moment, but reaching the wrong conclusion can result in fines, jail time, or even serious injury.
What Happens in Grand Rapids, Stays in Grand Rapids
Most of this ordinance covers things that are already illegal under Michigan law, such as escaping police custody or assaulting an officer. Refusing to obey an officer is not illegal under Michigan law, only under Grand Rapids law (unless that officer is directing traffic, in which case it is illegal under Michigan law as well). This does not mean that, once outside the city limits, a person is free to ignore the orders of a police officer.
Many other cities have similar ordinances that make disobeying a police officer illegal. It is important to know which specific city you are in, which may not always be clear, especially if you are unfamiliar with an area or are near the transition between two cities. You would them need to know whether that city has outlawed disobeying an officer, and that information can often be frustratingly difficult to find, even for a legal professional. Finally, you will need to consider whether disobeying someone with a deadly weapon and some combat training is worth it, illegal or not.
Contact A Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with disobeying a police officer in Grand Rapids or any other city, contact Miel & Carr to discuss your Grand Rapids criminal defense options. 616-773-2945 .