Resisting an officer without violence
Minor actions by someone suspected of a crime or about to be arrested can count as resistance. This can include tensing your arms while being handcuffed, refusing to sit down, giving information considered to be false or misleading during a lawful arrest, not obeying verbal commands, and more. If you are charged with resisting an officer, whether it was with violence or without violence, you should consult St. Petersburg violent crime lawyer Will Hanlon, who is committed to fighting for his clients' rights.Resisting an Officer Without Violence
Under Section 843.02, resisting an officer without violence to their person is an offense that can be charged if you nonviolently resist, oppose, or obstruct an officer as defined under the law, as well as if you resist other specified individuals, such as a member of the Florida Commission on Offender Review or anybody else who is legally authorized to execute process and is currently doing that or executing another legal duty. If you are convicted, you can be punished for a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that you face the possibility of being imprisoned for up to one year, spending 12 months on probation, or paying a $1,000 fine. Resisting an officer with violence is a more serious charge, but you should retain a St. Petersburg defense attorney for either charge.
Many people are uncertain of what nonviolent resistance could entail. Both actions and some speech have been considered nonviolent resistance under section 843.02. For example, if you simply refuse to obey a lawful verbal command, this is considered resistance. If you refuse to sit down when told to do so, this could also be considered nonviolent resistance. Trying to avoid being handcuffed is nonviolent resistance. Providing an officer with false information during a lawful detention or arrest is nonviolent resistance. Even trying to avoid the police when there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime or acting as a look out to stop someone else from being arrested can be construed as resisting an officer without violence.
Although it is a separate first-degree misdemeanor, resisting an officer without violence is the type of offense that is often tacked on to more serious charges. If there is nothing but a nonviolent resisting of arrest, and no violent crime or drug offense or sex crime alongside it, it is less likely that the maximum sentence will be imposed. Most first-time offenders will wind up with a criminal record and a probation sentence of six to 12 months. However, there are situations, such as those involving actions that endanger safety or extreme disrespect, that may result in jail.
Even though an officer may be willing to testify against you, you should not assume that a conviction is assured or inevitable. There are defenses that we may be able to assert, depending on your situation. We may be able to argue that your actions did not amount to resistance. Sometimes the officer has not made a claim about conduct that rises to the level of resistance, or there is a videotape to show that the officer is lying or was mistaken in their perceptions. If we can raise a reasonable doubt on this point, a prosecutor may decide not to prosecute, or a jury may decide to acquit. In some cases, moreover, it is possible to argue that your actions of resistance were actually involuntary. For example, it is normal to tense your arms if you are in pain from being violently handcuffed or trying to avoid being injured by the officer. In order for a defendant to be charged, an officer needs to be acting under a legal duty and needs to do so in a lawful way. If an officer was not acting under a lawful duty, such as when they were confronting you with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion, this may be a strong defense.Get Assistance from a Violent Crime Attorney in the St. Petersburg Area
St. Petersburg is a city that has a high violent crime rate compared to other cities around the country. If you are seeking a tenacious lawyer to fight charges of resisting an officer without violence or a related crime, such as felony battery, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. Will Hanlon has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation to St. Petersburg residents since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 727.289.0222 or complete our online form.