In this archive episode, Dennis answers questions on case laws regarding refusal to follow police commands. Recorded on 04/19/2018.

State v Doss 2002 – https://law.justia.com/…/1992/254-n-j-super-122-1.html

In the present case, once the totality of the circumstances observed by the police justifiably aroused an “articulable suspicion” which warranted their stopping and interrogating defendant, he was legally obligated to halt in response to their shouted orders to stop and, subject to his privilege against self-incrimination, he had a duty to answer their inquiries.[4] As the Court stated in State v. Lashinsky, 81 N.J. 1, 11, 404 A.2d 1121 (1979), “where an officer’s instructions are obviously reasonable, *130 in furtherance of his duties, an individual toward whom such instructions are directed has a correlative duty to obey them.” See also State v. Taylor, 121 N.J. Super. 395, 297 A.2d 216 (Cty.Dist.Ct. 1972). When defendant continued his flight from the pursuing police officers despite their shouted orders to halt, his refusal to obey their orders, together with all of the other circumstances of the case, gave the police reasonable cause to believe that he had committed or was then committing a criminal offense. See Kolender v. Lawson, supra, 461 U.S. at 366 n. 4, 103 S. Ct. at 1863 n. 4, 75 L. Ed. 2d at 915 n. 4 (Brennan, J., concurring) (“[R]eactions [by individuals to a properly limited Terry encounter], such as flight, may often provide the necessary information, in addition to that the officers already possess, to constitute probable cause.”); LaFave, supra, § 9.2(d) at 369 (quoting Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure at 284-85 (1975)). Consequently, when Detective Parks and the other policeman caught up with defendant and handcuffed him when he tripped and fell, they had probable cause to effect his arrest. The concurrent seizure and search of the cap which he held crumpled up in his hand, revealing the cocaine which it contained, was lawful because it was incident to a lawful arrest. See State v. McNair, 60 N.J. 8, 285 A.2d 553 (1972).

2C:29-1 condemns “interference”; it states, “A person commits an offense if he purposely … prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of … physical interference or obstacle….” (Emphasis added.) The implication of Lashinsky is that refusing to obey the order of a policeman constitutes “interference” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1. See also State v. Manning, 146 N.J. Super. 589, 370 A.2d 499 (App.Div. 1977) (An automobile passenger’s refusal to comply with a policeman’s order to return to his car “interfere[d]” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 2A:170-29; cf. Township of East Brunswick v. Malfitano, 108 N.J. Super. 244, 260 A.2d 862 (App.Div. 1970); State v. Taylor, 38 N.J. Super. 6, 118 A.2d 36 (App.Div. 1955)).

The second sentence of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 says, “This section does not apply to flight by a person charged with crime, refusal to submit to arrest, failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.” That sentence does not exclude defendant Doss from its purview. He had not been charged with a crime although he was suspected of one. He had not refused to submit to an arrest; he was seeking to evade a stop short of an arrest. See State v. Perlstein, 206 N.J. Super. 246, 502 A.2d 81 (App.Div. 1985), where this court held that a driver who refused to show her driving credentials to a policeman and who moved her car contrary to his directions was guilty of “attempt[ing] to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of… physical interference” in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1. See also State v. Wanczyk, 201 N.J. Super. 258, 493 A.2d 6 (App.Div. 1985) (Resisting a policeman’s efforts to complete a pat-down violates N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1.) Since defendant’s refusal to obey the policemen’s order to halt was an “interference” condemned by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1b, he was committing either a crime or a disorderly persons offense in the presence of the officers. In either event, they were entitled to arrest him and conduct a search incident to the arrest. See *132 State v. Hurtado, 219 N.J. Super. 12, 23, 529 A.2d 1000 (App. Div. 1987) (Skillman, J., dissenting), rev’d on dissent, 113 N.J. 1, 549 A.2d 428 (1988).

State v Donis 1998 – https://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-supreme-court/1309504.html

Finally, we observe that in both of these appeals, petitioners’ convictions were based on license plate identification, and that additional evidence linked each petitioner to the offense. The police officers in their initial use of MDT learned that the vehicles’ owners had suspended licenses. That information itself gave rise to the reasonable suspicion that the vehicle was driven in violation of the motor vehicle laws and was in itself sufficient to justify a stop. However, in addition to that information, the officers also had determined through a “match-up” that the drivers were the registered owners. On the descriptive information provided by the MDT and the “general match” of petitioners, the officers therefore had reasonable suspicion to believe that the drivers were violating the law. See Village of Lake in the Hills v. Lloyd, 227 Ill.App.3d 351, 169 Ill.Dec. 351, 591 N.E.2d 524, 526 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.1992) (“Police knowledge that an owner of a vehicle has a revoked driver’s license provides a reasonable suspicion to stop the owner’s vehicle for the purpose of ascertaining the status of the license of the driver. Common sense dictates that such information, standing alone, is sufficient to provide a constitutional basis for stopping a vehicle or its occupants.”), appeal denied, 146 Ill.2d 630, 176 Ill.Dec. 801, 602 N.E.2d 455 (Ill.1992); People v. Ceballos, 175 A.D.2d 315, 572 N.Y.S.2d 84, 85 (1991) (finding computer check of license plate number indicating that registered owner’s driving privileges had been suspended provided permissible basis to stop defendant’s vehicle).

State v William Witt 2015 – https://law.justia.com/…/supreme-court/2015/a-9-13.html

Significantly, we also made clear in Alston, supra, that merely because “the particular occupants of the vehicle may have been removed from the car, arrested, or otherwise restricted in their freedom of movement,” police were not required to secure a warrant. 88 N.J. at 234.

Last, relying on Chambers, we emphasized that “when there is probable cause to conduct an immediate search at the scene of the stop, the police are not required to delay the search by seizing and impounding the vehicle pending review of that probable cause determination by a magistrate.” Id. at 234–35. (Translation: You don’t need to call a judge and get a search warrant.)

State v Bacome – https://law.justia.com/…/supreme-court/2017/a-9-15.html

State v Smith – https://law.justia.com/…/appella…/1997/a3449-95-opn.html

Pennsylvania v Mimms – https://supreme.justia.com/…/federal/us/434/106/case.html

State v Brian K Smith – https://law.justia.com/…/supreme…/1994/a-28-93-opn.html