Resisting an Officer with Violence Attorney Miami

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny
Photo of Police and a Man

When you’re being arrested by a law enforcement officer, you need to know your rights and if they’re being violated.  Each person legally authorized to enforce the law must have a lawful basis to make a legal arrest. However, unlawful police conduct can lead to the suppression of evidence and statements obtained after the illegal police conduct. 

When determining if you were resisting an officer with violence, the following important questions should be answered in your case:

  • Were you lawfully arrested? 
  • Were you aware that the individual in question was a law enforcement officer?
  • Was the physical altercation minimal?
  • Was the altercation caused by the police officers involved?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show a lack of intent?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? 
  • Were any of your statements illegally obtained?

To prove Resisting an Officer with Violence, the State of Florida must be able to demonstrate that you knowingly and willfully resisted, obstructed, or opposed the victim by offering to him or her violence or by doing violence to him or her. If you feel you’ve been charged with a crime, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney about how to proceed.

What is Resisting an Officer with Violence?

Florida law outlines two different types of resisting charges:

  • Resisting an officer without violence 
  • Resisting an officer with violence 

People choose to resist officers for many different reasons. Sometimes to avoid being arrested, and in other situations, you may not realize that the person whom they are resisting is an officer. Responding to the brutality of a law officer may also lead to false charges. There are different defenses that a felony attorney may be able to raise to get your charges reduced or dropped.

What Is the Law for Resisting an Officer With Violence in Florida?

Florida Statutes section 843.01 prohibits willfully or knowingly opposing, obstructing, or resisting a law enforcement officer by acting violently toward the officer or threatening to commit violence. Anyone who willfully resists an officer with violence can be charged with a third-degree felony.

Individuals Protected under Florida’s Resisting Statute

According to Florida law, individuals protected by the statute include not only law enforcement officers but also any of the following:

  • Part-time or an auxiliary law enforcement officer
  • Correctional officers
  • Correctional probation officer
  • Member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission;
  • Parole and probation supervisor
  • County probation officer
  • Any representative of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)

If you’re confused about any person legally authorized to execute the process in the execution of a legal process or the lawful execution of a legal duty, speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney from Stroleny Law, P.A., about the terms of your arrest. 

Photo of a Policeman Arresting Someone

What are the Elements of Resisting an Officer with Violence?

To prove 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 toward him/her
  • At the time of the arrest, the alleged victim was engaged in the execution of a legal process or lawful execution of a legal duty
  • At the time of the arrest, the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute the legal process
  • At the time of the arrest, the defendant knew the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute the legal process

Felony Resisting an Officer With Violence

Florida law stipulates that it is a third-degree felony to knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer, including a law enforcement officer engaged in the lawful execution of any legal duty, by offering or doing violence to such legally authorized person.

The elements of felonious resisting with violence can include the following:

  • Knowingly resisting, obstructing, or opposing a law enforcement officer in the lawful execution of any legal duty
  • Threatening violence to his or her person
  • Choosing to behave violently when in possession of the knowledge of the officer’s status as an officer

In these situations, the charge could become a third-degree felony under Florida Statute 843.01. Related charges may include giving a false name to a law enforcement officer under Florida Statute Section 901.36 entitled “Prohibition against giving false name or false identification by a person arrested or lawfully detained.”

Constitutional Rights in a Resisting Arrest Case

Every resisting officer with violence case is different. An adept violence lawyer can help you to analyze the specific facts of your resisting arrest case to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case against you. 

Important factors you and your violence attorney should consider are:

  • Did you have the right to oppose the officer while resisting arrest?
  • Did you interfere with the investigation?
  • Was the police officer legally authorized to execute the arrest?
  • Was your conduct lawful?
  • What specifically did you do to oppose the arresting officer, if anything?
  • Were there any witnesses to the incident?
  • Were you asked to provide a written or oral statement?

Criminal Penalties for Resisting an Officer with Violence

If you are convicted of violence resisting an officer, you can be sentenced third-degree felony punishable by up to a maximum of five years imprisonment or placed on probation and fined $5,000. Prison time of up to five years is more likely when bodily harm was caused, or a weapon was used.

Let’s say you struck an officer with an object; in this case, it is more likely that you will serve prison time. However, if you push an officer without inflicting any wounds, it is more likely that you will only serve several months in jail. 

Your criminal defense lawyer can provide a suitable defense to have your third-degree felony charges possibly reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor. In some cases, these charges can be eliminated.

Common Defenses Against Resisting an Office With Violence

There are many defenses available to contest a charge of resisting an officer with violence in Florida. Some of the more common defenses used by skilled attorneys like those at Stroleny Law, P.A. include the following:

Officer Was Not Executing a Legal Duty

A primary defense to “Resisting an Officer” charges in Florida could be showing that the arresting officer was not executing a legal duty. When it can be demonstrated that the interaction between the suspect and police officer was consensual and the suspect was not subject to lawful detention, then not cooperating does not constitute the offense of Resisting an Officer With Violence in Florida.

No Crimes Occurred

A second defense to resisting arrest with violence is when a crime did not take place. If there is no actual resistance, opposition, or obstruction, how could an offense of resisting an officer take place?

If the arrestee’s actions were not “violent,” then no crime has been committed as well. However, this is up to the judge and jury to decide. The specifics of what can be considered resisting are malleable according to the circumstances of the arrest. Having a criminal lawyer, like those at Stroleny Law P.A., can help to ensure that your rights aren’t being violated. 

Unaware the Individual Was A Police Officer

A third defense to the charge of resisting an officer with violence is proving that you, the accused, were not aware the arresting officer was a police officer. This issue often arises when the officer is off duty or is working undercover. 

This issue can also present itself when there is a crowd or an altercation gets physical while involving multiple parties. If you were attacked by multiple parties and accidentally struck an officer while defending yourself, consider speaking with legal representation. 

Photo of a Policeman Arresting a Man

Excessive Force Defense

When you’ve been charged with a felony for resisting an officer with violence in Florida, consider defending yourself by demonstrating how the officer used excessive force. Any excessive force accompanying an arrest can be defended against. If an officer has a violent past, that could contribute to your case as well. Speak with a Florida criminal lawyer at Stroleny Law, P.A.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Provide Assistance

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help with resisting an officer and defend you from felony resisting and misdemeanor resisting an officer. A resisting charge is too often a catch-all charge used by police officers when no crime was committed. You don’t have to be a victim of unfair charges. Speak with an attorney right away.