In Miami, non-violent interference directed toward a law enforcement officer during an arrest or the execution of their legal duties can result in criminal charges. It’s called resisting without violence, and it can sometimes be synonymous with “resisting arrest without violence.” Police officers often book it as “resisting officer without violence” either way.
If you or a loved one has been charged with resisting an officer without violence, it’s critical to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You need to ensure that your rights are protected and do everything you can to avoid a criminal conviction. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and clear your name before the law.
What is Resisting an Officer Without Violence?
The charge of resisting an officer without violence happens when an individual is alleged to have obstructed or interfered with a police officer in the performance of their legal duties but uses no physical force or violence in the process. Refusing to follow lawful commands, providing false or misleading information, and passive resistance can be reasons for the charge.
What is the Florida State Statute for Resisting an Officer Without Violence?
The Florida Statute for resisting an officer without violence, also known as “RWOV” and “obstruction,” is 843.02. It reads:
- “Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any [law enforcement] officer . . . , in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree . . .”
For a resisting officer without violence to be proved during the trial, the following four elements must be established beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution:
- The defendant’s actions constituted resistance, obstruction, or opposition to a law enforcement officer
- the officer was engaged in the execution of a legal process or the lawful execution of a legal duty
- The officer was, in fact, legally authorized to execute a process
- the defendant knowingly resisted, obstructed, or opposed a person or officer legally authorized to execute the process
Criminal charges, in this instance, aren’t limited to interactions with police. If any defendant knew that a correctional officer, county probation officer, or other designated person was legally authorized to execute service and impeded them, Florida law treats it the same as if it was a cop. Every one of those positions is classified as a “law enforcement officer.”
Is Resisting an Officer Without Violence a Felony in Florida?
No. Resisting without violence is a felony. However, resisting a law enforcement officer with violence is felonious. A criminal attorney has limited power here because the officer that the defendant resisted has the last say on plea bargains associated with this charge. In such cases, a felony will go on your permanent criminal record.
Penalties for Resisting Officer Without Violence:
Charges related to this crime vary upon on the severity of the offense. In Florida, resisting arrest can range from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. As a first-degree misdemeanor, it’s punishable by up to 12 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Specifically, resisting without violence is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Defenses to Resisting Officer Without Violence
Popular defenses for Resisting Officer Without Violence are:
The use of reasonable force defending one’s self against police officers using excessive force or engaging in police brutality is legally justified. However, resistance can only be legally deployed to “the extent reasonably believed to be necessary.” The decision of whether the defendant acted lawfully in the face of police brutality is subject to a review of the circumstances.
Excessive force is a violation of your constitutional rights. Lawful execution and violation of rights cannot coexist. Therefore when a criminal defense attorney can prove that a law enforcement officer engaged in excessive force, the likelihood of charges being dropped increases exponentially.
Officer’s Status Unknown
Police officers are legally obliged to identify themselves as such. The last states a person may not resist a police officer who is “known, or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer.” So for a ‘resisting officer without violence’ charge to stick, the alleged must have reason to know the “law enforcement officer” was an officer rather than an impersonator.
Solely speaking, your piece should never result and a resisting arrest charge. The Right to Free Speech is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Unless the words are accompanied by obstructive physical conduct, a resisting arrest without violence charge is severely compromised. Some examples of lawful free speech when confronting an officer include:
- Filming or recording officer actions
- Verbal criticism or protest
- Chanting slogans or holding signs
- Engaging in dialogue or questioning
- Expressing or sharing personal opinions
It’s within the letter of the law to oppose officers carrying out unlawful arrests. When law enforcement officers execute an unlawful arrest, detention, or investigation, passive resistance is considered a lawful act. The burden of demonstrating that the arrest was lawful falls upon the state. No charges resulting from an illegal arrest should stick.
Lawful arrests are supported by probable cause. Probable cause for a lawful arrest doesn’t exist unless the factual details and circumstances available to arresting officer supply reasonable and trustworthy knowledge sufficient for warranting a reasonably cautious belief that criminal wrongdoing has been committed. Anything less is an illegal arrest.
A lawful investigation requires the arresting police officer to have an articulable, reasonable suspicion that a criminal offense was committed, was being committed, or was about to happen a crime before legally detaining anyone. When a law enforcement officer is found to have gotten a person arrested without reasonable suspicion, lawyers can move to have the case dismissed.
Plea Bargains to Avoid Conviction
A plea is an important, effective, and often used criminal defense strategy. Your criminal defense attorney can seek a plea bargain as a means to deal with your resisting officer without a violence charge. A plea can help you lessen the risks associated with employment, extend deadlines for paying court fees, and avoid formal convictions.
Experienced criminal defense lawyers know that plea bargains are a tactic that gets results. They can be, and often are, sought after by the defense or prosecution alike. Some options that a successful plea bargaining can introduce into resisting cases include:
- Reduced charges- Defendant please to a lesser offense
- Reduced sentence- Defendant seeks leniency in exchange for pleading guilty
- Avoidance of trial- Allows defendants to avoid harsher circumstances that trial might allow
- Mitigation of evidence- A deal to exclude certain evidence may strengthen the defense
- Avoidance of conviction
The Legal Advantage
When resisting without violence has been alleged of you, comprehensive knowledge of your rights and available defenses is key for a successful legal defense. The defenses above are known to help dispute the charges or mitigate the results. Consulting with a felony attorney who’s experienced with cases like these is essential for your success.
Assessing the details of your case, identifying the most relevant defense tactics, and protecting your rights is what an effective criminal defense lawyer does. Remember, each case is unique, and making charges disappear or weakening claims against you requires trusting the process. The outcome of a winning defense hinges on the specific events and evidence involved.
Asserting your rights, presenting a strong defense, and ensuring that justice is served according to Florida law means getting the right criminal defense attorney on your team. Using the proper defenses and navigating the legal system to beat your resisting arrest charges starts with calling us. We’ll review your case free of charge, and if we don’t beat the case, you owe us nothing.