Can I face charges for “resisting arrest without violence” in Florida?

Resisting arrest without violence in Florida is a vaguely defined offense that officers have the freedom charge people with at their discretion. The laws regarding resisting arrest without violence, detailed in Florida Statute § 843.02, essentially prohibit people from obstructing an officer from performing a legal duty, such as arresting someone, in any way.

The validity of many resisting arrest without violence charges is quite questionable. This law is subject to abuse by officers, and it may be that the charging officer grossly exaggerated the alleged conduct of the defendant.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest without violence, let Goldman Wetzel help you fight your charges. Using smart defenses and our aggressive approach, we can work to have the charges dropped or reduced. Call us today at 727-828-3900.

What constitutes resisting arrest without violence?

Florida law states that people are guilty of resisting arrest without violence when they “resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer… in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer.”

This is only definition of the offense the law provides. It does not expound or illustrate whatsoever. The vagueness of the offense usually works against defendants. For example, if you feel your arrest is unwarranted and you tell the officer, “Wait, you can’t arrest me. I didn’t do anything wrong,” the officer can say you “opposed” him and charge you with resisting arrest without violence.

Below are a few other examples of scenarios in which people have been charged with resisting arrest without violence:

  • Not standing up quickly enough when the officer orders you to
  • Walking away from an officer that tells you to stop
  • Giving false or misleading information to an officer
  • Hiding evidence
  • Giving a false name or other false information to an officer trying to serve process
  • Evading police
  • Acting as a lookout by warning a suspect and thereby preventing an arrest

What are the penalties for resisting arrest without violence?

Resisting arrest without violence is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida; you could face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In most cases though, resisting arrest is a secondary charge. You will still face the penalties of your particular primary charge on top of those for resisting arrest.

Can I defend against resisting arrest charges in Florida?

Absolutely. Call a criminal defense lawyer at Goldman Wetzel to get to work on your defense. In order for the prosecutor to prevail against you, he or she has to prove that your conduct directly interfered with a specific lawful duty the officer was executing.

We can work to prove that the officer’s allegations against you were exaggerated and that you did not hinder the officer’s duties. In some cases, we might be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced, get you enrolled in a diversion program, or offer a plea bargain to avoid conviction.

Contact us at 727-828-3900 today.

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