Resisting an officer – or resisting arrest – is a crime in Florida. This is true even in cases where the accused acts without violence and causes no injuries. It is considered an act of “obstruction” and is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for conviction can include jail time and monetary fines.
How Florida Criminal Laws Define Resisting Arrest
Non-violent resistance of arrest falls under Florida’s definition of obstructing justice. Obstruction of justice is a criminal offense in which the defendant is accused of interfering with the work of a police officer or officer of the court.
Florida laws define obstruction of justice as resisting an officer in his or her efforts to execute a legal process (such as making an arrest). The law stipulates that the term “officer” can mean a police officer as well as members or employees of the parole commission, corrections officers, or anyone else who is legally authorized to engage in such an activity.
The Penalties for Resisting Arrest Without Violence
Resisting arrest without violence is subject to the standard penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor. Punishment may include up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
Examples of Resisting Arrest Without Violence or Interfering With an Officer’s Duty
Some examples of resisting arrest without violence may include fleeing from an officer as he or she attempts to make an arrest or providing false information to an officer in order to avoid arrest. Other examples of obstructing justice may include refusing to cooperate with an officer during a traffic stop such as a suspected DUI.
Common Factors in the Defense of Obstruction of Justice
Prosecutors are obligated to present compelling evidence that demonstrates the suspect knew the person attempting the arrest was an acting officer. This is particularly relevant in the instance of a so-called plainclothes or undercover officer.
Additionally, if it can be proven that an officer was without merit in performing an arrest – for example, there was no evidence of probable cause – a defendant may be able to successfully avoid conviction for obstruction of justice.
If you’ve been charged with resisting an arrest without violence or other instances of obstruction of justice, contact a defense attorney. Call (877) 663-5110.