Resisting Arrest Under Florida Law

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Resisting Arrest Under Florida Law

By |2018-07-19T18:26:57+00:00July 19th, 2018|criminal defense law, juvenile defense law|Comments Off on Resisting Arrest Under Florida Law

Resisting arrest is an often-misunderstood topic in Florida.  Many people who have had the misfortune of being arrested in the Sunshine State, no matter the offense, often are left wondering exactly what it is that he or she did or said that constituted resisting arrest.  A person may be questioning if simply arguing with a police officer prior to being arrested is a legitimate behavior, or if in doing so they are raising the possibility they will be charged with resisting arrest.  Although police officers are permitted to use reasonable force when making an arrest under Florida law, including any force they reasonably believe is necessary to defend themselves or another person from bodily harm, there are no clearly defined rules when it comes to the laws relating to the arrest of criminal suspects by police officers in Florida and specifically what constitutes resisting arrest.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that a person not resist arrest, even by something as seemingly innocuous as refusing to be handcuffed because they feel they may not have done anything wrong.  In doing so a person may be risking additional punishment in addition to whatever offense the person is being arrested for in the first place.  So, if you are being placed under arrest in Florida, you should take care to comply with all commands issued by a police officer, even if you disagree with them, to save yourself the possibility of being charged with the additional offense of resisting arrest.

Resisting Arrest Without Violence

Florida law defines resisting arrest into two categories, depending on whether or not the resistance is with or without violence.  Under Florida Statutes Section 843.02, anyone who “resists, obstructs, or opposes” arrest by a police officer can be charged with resisting arrest without violence under Florida law.  Resisting arrest without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida.  This charge carries with it potential penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000 fine.  These penalties represent the statutory maximum that is available for the charge, and do not reflect the likely sentence that will be imposed in the vast majority of cases.  Many judges may impose probation rather than sending someone to jail for a conviction of resisting arrest without violence.

Resisting arrest without violence can include a number of different types of behaviors and is typically very fact-specific.  It can include such things as refusing to be handcuffed, refusing to leave an area when required or commanded to do so, or not following lawful verbal commands given by a police officer.

Resisting Arrest with Violence 

Resisting arrest with violence is a different type of offense altogether.  Under Florida Statutes Section 843.01, it is important to note that a person can be charged with the offense of resisting arrest with violence by even “offering to do violence” to a police officer.  Of course, someone can also be charged with this offense if he or she, for instance, shoves a police officer who is attempting to arrest the person.  However, it is important to understand that a simple threat to become violent with a police officer made from anger can also land someone in hot water.  Resisting arrest with violence is a third-degree felony under Florida law that carries with it potential penalties of five years in prison or five years of probation and a $5,000 fine.  In addition, unlike some crimes, there is a very real possibility that a defendant who is convicted of this offense will spend some time in jail. Prosecutors and judges, who work with police on a regular basis, do not take this offense lightly.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested in Florida? 

If you are arrested in Florida, you should follow all instructions given to you by a police officer, regardless of whether you agree with the instructions or the fact that you are being arrested or not.  In addition to doing so, you should also make certain not to let your emotions get the best of you. If you end up reacting in anger to the officer, you may suddenly find yourself facing a charge of resisting arrest with or without violence, in addition to whatever charge you were arrested for in the first place. 

Contact Experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Bryan Raymond if You Have Been Accused of Resisting Arrest in Palm Beach County 

If you were arrested in Palm Beach County for any criminal offense, including resisting arrest with or without violence, contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Bryan M. Raymond of the Law Office of Bryan Raymond.  Bryan is an experienced defense attorney who represents both adults and juveniles charged with all manner of criminal offenses in Palm Beach County.  If you have been arrested by the police, it is important to follow all commands the officer gives you in order to lessen the chances that you will be charged with resisting arrest, particularly if your natural inclination is to become angry and make threats against or get violent with the arresting officer.  These behaviors are taken very seriously under Florida law and could land you in jail, notwithstanding whatever potential punishment you may be facing for the primary offense for which you were arrested.  Therefore, if you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Palm Beach County, Florida, including resisting arrest with or without violence, and need a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney who will stop at nothing in defending you, immediately contact experienced criminal defense attorney Bryan Raymond today at (561) 682-1115 or bryan@raymondlaw.net.