By: James Davis
When you think about “resisting arrest” you probably imagine someone physically resisting an officer’s attempts to restrain them. It probably comes as no surprise that using this force is illegal and may result in additional charges.
But some Florida residents face resisting arrest charges even when they don’t touch the officer at all. In trying to pile on charges, authorities may point to Section 843.02 of the Florida Crimes Code, which defines this act as “resisting officer without violence to his or her person.” This charge, which is based on the officer’s subjective determination that the arrestee was resisting, can be punishable as a first degree misdemeanor.
Considering the fuzzy language of the law, there is much opportunity for mistakes to be made and charges to be filed unfairly. That makes it imperative to seek out a legal advocate who can fight back on your behalf.
Punishments for Resisting Arrest without Using Violence
For a first-time offender, a charge of resisting arrest without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in prison time of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Keep in mind that these charges are in addition to whatever charge the officer was trying to arrest you for in the first place. For subsequent offenses, the punishments get more and more serious.
What to Do If You Are Falsely Arrested
Sometimes people resist arrest because they know they are guilty of a crime and simply don’t want to be arrested. Other times people resist because they are actually innocent and believe that the officer is crooked, has the wrong person, or is just plain mistaken. Whatever the case, if an officer is exhibiting lawful authority, the officer should be respected when claiming to place you under arrest.
However, time and again, even when acting fairly, residents may be charged with resisting arrest by an officer. If this happens to you, you should act fast to protect yourself. Once you are taken in, you should contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case.
An attorney will be able to assess the entirety of the situation and make sure that the prosecutor actually proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you were resisting. If they cannot prove it, then you should not face additional penalties for that charge. Just because the officer claims that you were “resisting” does not mean that you actually were.
To help your case, make sure to do everything you can to document the officer’s conduct. Mistakes can be made during an arrest by officers, which is a violation of your rights. You can vindicate your rights in the courtroom–where you can put your best foot forward with the right legal guidance.
Charged With A Crime?
If you have been charged with a crime, don’t resist the officer’s authority, even if you are not the one who committed the crime. If the evidence is strong that you did commit the crime, keep in mind that you are entitled to a qualified Florida criminal defense attorney, no matter how bad the facts look.