Failure to obey a police order

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Failure to obey a police officer, or failure to obey a police order, is typically a misdemeanor. In Washington, DC, this law is utilized primarily for purposes of ensuring that officers tasked with directing traffic have the authority to direct motorists and pedestrians in a proper and safe manner.[1] In Virginia, it is a misdemeanor to refuse to assist an officer in responding to a breach of the peace[2] or in executing his office in a criminal case.[3]


The country's Criminal Code makes it illegal for a motor vehicle driver to disobey an order to stop for a police officer. This includes flight from a peace officer. Such a charge, other than those involving death or bodily harm, can be prosecuted as local equivalents to misdemeanors or felonies (summary or indictable offences, respectively). Flight from police causing injury or death is always indictable, with maximum penalties of 14 years and life imprisonment, respectively. A conviction also comes with a mandatory licence suspension by the relevant provincial or territorial Ministry of Transportation (e.g. minimum 5-year suspension of Ontario-wide driving privileges).

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