Resisting arrest by a law enforcement officer in the state of Florida can have penalties that may result in higher charges than whatever it is you were being arrested for to begin with. Resisting arrest can happen in one of two ways – with violence or passively. Neither is good, but with violence obviously carries more weight. Sometimes even enough weight to be considered a felony.
Resisting arrest without violence is defined in defined by Florida Statute § 843.02, occurs when you deliberately resist, obstruct, or oppose a law enforcement officer while the officer is engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty or serving legal process. This charge is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. If you’re convicted of resisting without violence, the penalties include up to 1 year in jail, up to 1 year of probation, and up to $1,000 in fines.
If you resist arrest in a way that shows violence, then you’re in another world of trouble. Resisting arrest with violence is a very serious charge. It’s defined in Florida Statute § 843.01, stating it’s when you purposely obstruct, oppose, or resist a law enforcement officer by engaging in or threatening violent conduct against the officer who was lawfully executing a legal duty. Resisting an officer with violence is a third-degree felony. This can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines.
Of course, there are reasons for passively resisting arrest that can be used in your defense. If the arrest is unlawful and there’s no proof for the arrest or if you’re unaware that the officer is actually law enforcement. Excessive force is also another factor that can come into play. Self-defense is allowed but only to the extent that it is believed to be necessary – and that’s a very thin line.
If you or someone you know are being brought up on charges for resisting arrest, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend your case. There are situations where this can be handled in a way that the law is on your side, but it’s not something you’ll be able to prove alone. Give Russell Spatz a call today at (305) 442-0200 to explain your case to him. He’s got decades of experience and is committed to each and every one of his clients.