Resisting an Officer with Violence in Florida: Legal Guidance from an Experienced Attorney
Under Sec. 843.01, Florida Statutes, the crime of Resisting an Officer with Violence requires three elements to be proved:
- Knowingly and willfully resisting, obstructing, or opposing an officer or process server;
- The officer or process server was lawfully engaged in executing a legal duty;
- Threatening or causing violence against the officer or process server.
Penalties for Resisting an Officer with Violence in Florida
Resisting an Officer with Violence is a third-degree felony in Florida, subject to up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. The severity level of this charge under the Criminal Punishment Code is 5 (or 28 points). However, there’s no mandatory minimum sentence unless there are aggravating circumstances like prior criminal convictions.
Defending against a Charge of Resisting an Officer with Violence
Resisting Excessive Force: Even though resisting an arrest because the officer lacks authority is not permissible, you can use non-deadly force to protect yourself against excessive force. However, it’s important to note that your actions must only be in self-defense, and not an attempt to escape the arrest.
Lack of Knowledge of Officer’s Status: If you weren’t aware that the individual was an officer or process server, especially if they were undercover or in an unmarked car, you cannot be held guilty of Resisting an Officer with Violence.
Other Potential Defenses
There are various other strategies we can employ to challenge the State’s case or demonstrate your innocence. These include, but are not limited to, moving to suppress evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, presenting alibi evidence, and showing that there’s no evidence supporting the charge.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is considered “excessive force” by a police officer?
Excessive force refers to situations where an officer uses physical force beyond what is necessary to accomplish a lawful police purpose.
2. What are my rights if I am accused of Resisting an Officer with Violence?
You have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. If you believe your rights have been violated, your attorney can move to suppress any resulting evidence.
3. Can I be charged if I didn’t know the person I was resisting was a police officer?
Under Florida law, you cannot be convicted of Resisting an Officer with Violence if you didn’t know the person was an officer or process server.
4. How can an attorney help me fight a charge of Resisting an Officer with Violence?
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help challenge the state’s case, move to suppress illegally obtained evidence, or present defenses that may lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
5. What can I expect in terms of penalties if convicted?
Resisting an Officer with Violence is a third-degree felony in Florida. Conviction can result in up to 5 years in prison or probation, and a $5,000 fine.
If you’re facing charges for resisting an officer with violence, it’s crucial to consult a lawyer promptly. The best chance for a successful defense is to have an aggressive and determined criminal lawyer by your side.
Leppard Law has been recognized by Expertise.com as one of the “Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Orlando” from 2016-2022. Don’t gamble with your future. Call Leppard Law: Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation.