Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges of Resisting Arrest
If you attempt to interfere with a law enforcement officer’s attempt to perform a lawful arrest, it will usually result in a charge of resisting arrest. The crime can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on how severe the actions were of the person who resisted the arrest. A misdemeanor of resisting arrest can include actions like running and hiding from a law enforcement officer. A felony of resisting arrest usually means that the individual either acted or threatened to act violently toward the arresting officer.
In Florida, Resisting an Officer Without Violence includes any non-violent obstruction of a law enforcement officer during the execution of a legal duty, including arrest. Resisting Without Violence is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties can include up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1000 fine. If you are charged with resisting with violence, on the other hand, the penalties are far more serious. This is a penalty charge that can come with up to five years in prison, probation of up to five years, and monetary fines of up to $5000.
Elements of Resisting Arrest
In order for the prosecutor to prove that you resisted arrest, there are four main elements that need to have happened in the situation. There is also some discretion that is left up to the arresting officer, which can lead to additional charges that you did not necessarily deserve.
That is why it is so important to have a defense attorney on your side who can advocate on your behalf. The Wiseman Law Firm can help present the facts of your case in a way that shows your actions in the best light possible. We have an in-depth set of knowledge on the requirements that need to be met before this kind of charge can be brought, and we will do what is in our power to reduce your charge with this in kind. The following are the elements of resisting arrest that need to be met in order to bring this charge:
- You must resist a law enforcement officer, obstruct them from performing their duty while arresting you, or oppose a member of law enforcement during arrest.
- The law enforcement officer must be engaged and in the process of executing a legal process or duty at the time of resistance, obstruction, or opposition.
- The law enforcement officer must be legally authorized to execute such a process.
- You must knowingly resist, obstruct, or oppose the law enforcement officer and you must be aware that they are a member of the police.
If the prosecution is unable to prove that these four elements of resisting arrest occurred, they might not be able to bring the charges against you. It is important to note that in the state of Florida, either acts of violence or resistance or threats of violence can constitute grounds for a resisting arrest charge. This can include any type of physical violence, such as striking an officer or throwing an object at them. Threatening to harm an officer will also qualify as resisting arrest.
An essential qualifier is that simply disagreeing with a member of law enforcement during arrest is not enough to substantiate opposition. However, there are times when aggressive arguing and yelling can qualify an individual for this kind of charge. Each case is unique, and the team at The Wiseman Law Firm will help present relevant facts that can help your case. For example, we can help review the body cam or dashcam footage to determine whether the behavior should have been considered “resisting arrest.”
We can also gather information from relevant eyewitnesses who might be able to provide some insight into what happened during the arrest. When you have a “resisting arrest” charge, it is usually coming alongside another charge because you were already being arrested. Of course, it will be beneficial for your future to have as few charges as possible, and The Wiseman Law Firm can help you achieve that.
If you need defense for a resisting arrest charge or any other type of criminal charge, call The Wiseman Law Firm at (407) 708-9127 or contact us online.