Definition of Resisting With Violence
Under Section 843.01, Florida Statutes, it is a criminal act to knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct, or oppose any law enforcement officer by committing a violent act towards the officer or “offering” to commit a violent act.
To prove the crime of Resisting Arrest with Violence in Florida, the prosecution must establish the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant knowingly and willfully resisted, obstructed, or opposed the alleged victim by offering to do violence to him/her or doing violence towards him/her;
- At the time, the alleged victim was engaged in the execution of legal process or lawful execution of a legal duty;
- At the time, the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process;
- At the time, the defendant knew the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process.
Penalties for Resisting With Violence
Florida law classifies Resisting an Officer with Violence as a third degree felony, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
Even for defendants with minimal criminal history, jail or prison is a realistic possibility in Resisting with Violence cases. Where there are no injuries to the officer and no weapons were used, sentences ranging from 3-6 months in the county jail are not uncommon. Where injury is inflicted, a demand for prison is not only a possibility, but a probability.
Defenses to Resisting With Violence
There are multiple defenses available to contest a Resisting With Violence charge in Florida. Common examples include the following:
- The officer was not engaged in the execution of a legal duty;
- The defendant’s actions were not willful and knowing, but were the result of the officer applying handcuffs or other restraint to the accused;
- The defendant did not know that the person he/she resisted was a law enforcement officer;
- The arresting officer used excessive force and the defendant’s actions were appropriate to repel the excessive force;
- The defendant’s action were not “violent” within the meaning of the statute.
Contact an Attorney
Resisting an Officer with Violence is a serious criminal offense that is harshly prosecuted throughout the State. An attorney is critical to protect the rights of the accused and to avoid or minimize the consequences of a conviction.
If you have been accused of Resisting an Office or Arrest with Violence, contact Hussein & Webber, PL today for a free consultation. Our attorneys handle cases throughout Florida.