Resisting an Officer With Violence
In Florida, you can be convicted of resisting an officer even if you do not act violently or otherwise actively fight back against an arrest or other action. Simply refusing to stand up, sit down or put your hands behind your back can result in a resisting an officer without violence charge. If a person does become unruly and his or her actions are considered violent, and the charges could be increased to resisting an officer with violence.
This offense automatically is considered a felony, and it could carry significant jail or prison time. In many cases, however, people have been able to defeat charges of resisting an officer with violence after a Broward County arrest. Knowing your constitutional rights is important in these cases. An experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can help you challenge the charges.
Fort Lauderdale Resisting an Officer with Violence Lawyer
If you have been accused of resisting an arrest with violence, you could be facing a felony conviction. This could carry a lifetime of consequences and the label of being a convicted felon. Having an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer on your case from the beginning could be the difference in your case.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale resisting an officer with violence attorney at Meltzer & Bell. The attorneys have years of experience in Broward County on both sides of the law, and the are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients. Do not let an accusation this serious change the rest of your life. Call (954) 745-7457 to schedule a free consultation.
The partners at Meltzer & Bell are available to clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter the severity of the charge, they can help you build a defense. The attorneys represent clients throughout Broward County, including those in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hallandale Beach, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Davie, and Coral Springs.
Information About Resisting an Officer With Violence Charges
- Definition of Resisting an Officer With Violence
- Examples of Resisting With Violence
- What the State Must Prove for a Conviction
- Defenses to Resisting an Officer With Violence in Florida
Fla. Stat. § 843.01 makes it a felony offense to resist, obstruct or oppose any law enforcement officer in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty either by actually using violence or by threatening or “offering” to do violence.
The term “law enforcement officer” can mean a variety of people. Under Fla. Stat. § 943.10, a law enforcement officer is any person who is elected, appointed or employed full time by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision who has the to bear arms and make arrests. This also applies to anyone whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of the penal, criminal, traffic or highway laws of the state.
Additionally, for a resisting charge, a law enforcement officer can include any of the following:
- A correctional officer;
- A correctional probation officer;
- Part-time law enforcement officer;
- Part-time correctional officer;
- Auxiliary law enforcement officer; or
- Auxiliary correctional officer.
Under the current law, a person can commit only one count of resisting an officer with violence even if several officers are involved in the same event. For instance, if a person is being arrested and he or she begins to fight, even if two officers are involved in subduing the person, only one charge would apply.
When a person is interacting with law enforcement officers, his or her actions are carefully recorded. In these instances, even the most minor action could be considered resisting. For instance, if a cop or officer approaches a person and he or she begins to step back, it could be counted as resisting. However, for violence to be involved there must be some sort of threat.
Some examples of resisting an officer with violence in Florida could include:
- Physically struggling or pulling away from the officer;
- Punching, kicking or swinging at the officer;
- Fighting with the officer; and
- Biting or attempting to bite an officer.
According to the Florida Supreme Court, to prove the crime of resisting an officer with violence, the state must prove all of the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused knowingly and willfully resisted, obstructed or opposed the officer by offering to do him or her violence or by actually doing violence to him or her;
- At the time of the offense, the officer was engaged in the execution of legal process or the lawful execution of a legal duty;
- At the time of the offense, the officer was an officer or a a person legally authorized to execute process; and
- At the time of the offense, the accused knew the officer was an officer or a person legally authorized to execute process.
Resisting an officer with violence is a third-degree felony in Florida. A conviction can result in up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines or both. Additionally, this could result in being charged with assault or battery of a law enforcement officer under Fla. Stat. § 784.07. These charges can carry harsher penalties.
Although the charge could seem unbeatable, there are defenses available to those accused of resisting an officer with violence. In Florida, one defense could be the person facing the charge did not know the officer actually was an officer. This defense is expecially useful in cases where the officer is off duty or undercover. It also can be used in cases where the alleged offense occurred in a crowd or with multiple parties.
If a police officer is not acting in a legal duty, for example an off-duty cop working as a bouncer at a club, this may also be a defense. If it can be proven the interaction between the person and the officer was consensual and the suspect was not subject to a lawful detention, the charge could be reduced or dismissed.
Additionally, if there is no actual resistance, opposition or obstruction of justice, an experienced Broward County criminal defense attorney could argue the offense of resisting an officer did not actually happen. This could be hard to prove because it often is the word of the accused against the word of the officer or officers involved. However, an attorney can use all means necessary to prove this, including dash camera footage and testimony from witnesses.
Finding the Best Resisting Arrest Attorney in Broward County
If you have been charged with violently resisting an officer in Florida, you will want to make sure that you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. This offense is a felony, which could carry significant consequences. Meltzer & Bell aggressively defends clients throughout Broward County, including those in Sunrise, Pompano Beach, Margate, Coconut Creek, Tamarac, Wilton Manors, Weston, and the greater Fort Lauderdale area.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell have more than two decades of combined experience in Broward County courts, including time spent on both sides of the courtroom. Contact a resisting an officer without violence attorney at Meltzer & Bell for a free consultation and begin building a defense againse the charges today. Call (954) 745-7457 today.