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Florida law defines the crime of Resisting an Officer with Violence as the resisting, opposing, or obstructing of a law enforcement officer while the officer was in the lawful execution of a legal duty by doing, or threatening to do violence, to the officer. Further, it must be shown that you knew the person was a law enforcement officer at the time.
 
Basically, if you violently resist being arrested or otherwise threaten violence to an officer’s performance of his duties, you could find yourself charged with Resisting an Officer with Violence.

Penalties for a Resisting an Officer with Violence Charge

The crime of Resisting an Officer with Violence is classified as a third degree felony under Florida law and is punishable by up to:
  1. Five years in State Prison;
  2. Five years of supervised probation;
  3. A $5,000 fine

Defenses to a Resisting an Officer with Violence Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Resisting with Violence charge in Florida include:

The person was not a law enforcement officer
The law is clear that in order to be found in violation of the Resisting statute, it must be shown that the person was actually a law enforcement officer. A vigilante “concerned citizen” does not qualify. If there is a question about whether the person is an actual law enforcement officer, you may have a legal defense to the Resisting charge.

The officer was not in the lawful execution of a legal duty
Remember, law enforcement is not allowed to simply harass or otherwise disturb you if you are doing nothing wrong. An officer is not allowed to make an arrest without probable cause to do so. A very important issue to look at when dealing with Resisting charges is whether the officer was engaged and the lawful execution of a legal duty. If not, you may have a legal defense to the Resisting charge.

You did not know the person was a law enforcement officer
It wouldn’t be fair to charge someone with Resisting an Officer if the person never knew they were an officer. It must be made very clear that the person was indeed an officer and that there was reasonable indication given to the person resisting. If it is not clear to you that the person was an officer, either because they were not wearing a traditional uniform or other circumstances created doubt, you may have a legal defense to the Resisting charge. This is often the case when an undercover officer makes an arrest.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Resisting an Officer with Violence in Florida!
(407) 545-6416