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Resisting Arrest Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Musca Law Provides Relentless Defense for Your Resistance Crimes 

In your mind’s eye, when you imagine a person resisting arrest, what image first comes into your mind? For the majority of people, that image is a scene ripped directly from a blockbuster movie. There is most likely a violent person, desperately trying to outrun the cops, who in turn chase down the fugitive and tackle them to the ground where a bloody struggle ensues. Once the undercover officer gets the perp in handcuffs, he pushes them by their elbow towards his squad car. The officer reaches across the criminal to open the car door but, having absolutely no desire to go back to prison, the perp head butts the officer and tries to make a break for it yet again. A second cop arrives at the scene just in time to jump into the fray to help his brother in blue. After a tense scuffle and the spewing of profanities that would have shamed a sailor on shore leave, the suspect is finally wrestled into submission and they all ride off into the sunset, a job well done.

Sadly, in the actual world, the crime of resisting arrest is far more complex and rarely so dramatic. Basically, in the state of Florida, there are two kinds of resisting arrest. They are resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence. Each of these crimes is taken very seriously and each carries the possibility of time in jail for the offender. 

There are a lot of different circumstances that can lead you to be charged with obstruction of justice. The most frequent way in which this charge is brought is under Florida Statute 843.02, Resisting an Officer Without Violence.

Additional ways in which you could be charged with Obstruction of Justice include but are not limited to:

  • Impeding police work
  • Hindering the work of a judge, state prosecutor or any other government official
  • Manipulating a witness
  • Modifying, destroying, or altering evidence.

If you or someone that you love has been charged with resisting arrest, retaining competent, qualified legal counsel is going to give you your best shot at avoiding the negative consequences that a charge for Resisting Arrest will have on your personal life, your career, your social life, your family and your reputation. 

Resisting an Officer with Violence to His or Her Person

According to Florida Statute 843.01, this crime is a felony of the third-degree. It is characterized by a suspect resisting, obstructing, or protesting by engaging in an act or acts of violent behavior towards an officer of the law who has the necessary authority to carry out a legal process like an arrest.

What Kinds of Officers are Able to Charge Someone for Resisting Arrest with Violence in Fort Lauderdale?

  • A current correctional officer
  • A current probation officer
  • A current county probation officer
  • A current Probation Supervisor or Parole Supervisor

What Evidence Does the Prosecution Need to Charge Someone for Resisting Arrest with Violence in Fort Lauderdale? 

If they intend to show that a person truly resisted a law enforcement officer with the use of violence, the state has to demonstrate that four components of this crime, beyond any reasonable doubt, transpired:

  • The physical resistance, hindrance, or non-compliance towards a police officer via the use of violent behavior
  • The police officer was, at that point, involved in fulfilling their statutory duty
  • The police officer was permitted by law to carry out this legal process
  • The alleged offender was fully aware that the person was a police officer and, as such, was legally permitted to carry out the process, and was deliberately and willfully combative, hindering, or opposing with the use of violent behavior

By legal definition, the crime of resisting arrest with violence pertains to any violent, physical activity, like knocking an officer to the ground or hitting them. In instances where there was no use of any weaponry and no harm was done to the victim (the police officer), the given sentence might be less than in instances where the officer sustained some form of physical injury.

Resisting an Officer Without Violence to His or Her Person 

According to Florida Statute 843.02, this is a misdemeanor in the first degree. It is characterized by a suspect resisting, obstructing, or protesting but without engaging in any acts of violence towards the police officer. Among the kinds of officers to whom this law applies are county probation officers as well as correctional officers along with police officers.

What Evidence Does the Prosecution Need to Charge Someone with Resisting Arrest Without Violence in Fort Lauderdale? 

If they wish to show that the alleged offender truly resisted a law enforcement officer without the use of violence, the state has to demonstrate that four components of this crime, beyond any reasonable doubt, transpired:

  • The non-physical resistance, hindrance, or non-compliance towards a police officer
  • The police officer was, at that point, involved in fulfilling their statutory duty
  • The police officer was permitted by law to carry out this legal process
  • The alleged offender was fully aware that the person was a police officer and, as such, was legally permitted to carry out the process, and was deliberately and willfully combative, hindering, or opposing

What Qualifies as Resisting Arrest Without Violence in Fort Lauderdale?

A charge of resisting arrest could stem from something as small as a suspect declining to stand up when a law enforcement officer requests that they do so. Non-violent, physical behaviors that indicate resistance include but are not limited to:

  • Locking your arms while you are being handcuffed
  • Attempting to hide or destroy evidence
  • Running from the police
  • Disregarding spoken instructions given to you by the police officer
  • Giving the police officer untrue or deceptive answers to any questions that they ask you during your arrest or retention

Resisting arrest is a crime that can also be accomplished with mere words. For instance, if one person gives a signal or other warning to another person or group of people indicating that the police are in the area then that person could potentially be charged with resisting arrest. 

What do I do if I am Charged with Resisting Arrest in Fort Lauderdale?

If you or someone that you love is dealing with a charge of resisting arrest, it is imperative that you get in touch with a distinguished, reputable Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney like the ones at Musca Law as soon as possible. Our attorneys who specialize in cases of resisting arrest will be able to examine the details of your case and lay out all of your legal options for you in a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Defenses to the charge of Resisting/Obstructing

Excessive Force

A person is considered to be justified in the application of reasonable force in order to protect themselves from a law enforcement officer who employs the use of excessive force in order to obtain an arrest or who participates in police brutality. A person is only able to partake in the use of self-defense, however, to the degree thought to be rationally appropriate. The deciding factors of whether or not the self defense was called for are centered on the events that took place at the time.

You are entitled to protect yourself if the emergence of undue force or police brutality appears to be forthcoming. This is an extremely nuanced a highly fact-specific area of Florida law. The circumstances of your particular case have to be examined in great detail with the guidance of your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney.

Officer’s Status Unknown

It is legally required that it be very evident that the individual with whom you are fighting/resisting is, in fact, a law enforcement officer.  The law asserts that the law enforcement officer has to be “known, or reasonably appears to be a law enforcement officer.” Someone who is charged with Resisting an Officer without Violence has to have absolutely been aware that the victim was really a law enforcement officer and not some person who was merely impersonating a law enforcement officer.

For instance, properly wearing and displaying your badge and your gun, driving a clearly marked police car, and yelling “police” to identify yourself would all be viable as proof that you were aware or should have been aware that the individual was a law enforcement officer.

Freedom of Speech

Someone’s words, when considered on their own merit, will nearly always come under the purview of the First Amendment, the right of free speech, and would never be viewed as the restricting or the obstruction of an officer without violence. Words combined with physical behavior, however, or other actions might possibly incite the sudden use of force.  You need to always be conscious of your body language along with what you say when you are dealing with a law enforcement officer. Once again, this legal defense is very fact-specific and needs to be examined in a great amount of detail with your criminal defense attorney.

Resisting an Unlawful Arrest

It is lawful to oppose an illegal or unauthorized detention, arrest or inquiry provided that it is done without inciting or performing acts of violence.

Self-Defense

An act of self-defense, when executed with a reasonable amount of force, is permissible in the event that excessive force is employed by a police officer at the time of your arrest. You are entitled to practice self-defense against illegal acts performed by a police officer. These illegal acts include but are not limited to:

  • Illegally accessing any private property or a private home
  • Illegally searching someone
  • Illegally confining or detaining someone

Assault or Battery on a Police Officer

The law in the state of Florida prohibits the illegal threatening and illegal touching of police officers. Engaging in these actions is a crime known as Assault on a Police Officer, sometimes also called Battery on a Police Officer. Any infraction of Florida Statute 784.07 could potentially be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the seriousness of the offense.

At the offices of Musca Law, our experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys understand that the majority of cases of assault on a police officer arise from incidents that take place during the course of an arrest. Law enforcement officers will very regularly:

  • Knock the alleged offender to the ground
  • Violently tackle an alleged offender
  • Slam the alleged offender’s head against the car
  • Employ the use of a taser
  • Pull out a gun

All of these displays of physical force are permitted just as long as they are warranted. Whenever a law enforcement officer applies force, she or he is required to fill out a Use of Force report describing the situation and the reason for their use of force. Most of the time, the fact that the police must account for their use of force gives the officers what they see as a very good reason to claim that an offender perpetrated battery or assault on a police officer in the commission of their duties.

Oftentimes the facts of a case wind up being nothing more than “he-said-she-said.” On other occasions, there may be a plethora of well-articulated and useful statements from witnesses, security footage or maybe even smartphone video clips that would be able to work to undermine the law enforcement officer’s statements. Discovering this type of proof usually entails an independent investigation.

It is not even that law enforcement officers are fundamentally dishonest about this kind of behavior. When involved in an intense situation that has your heart pounding and your adrenaline surging through your veins, the fact is that even a professional, well-trained police officer could easily, and without realizing it, have a distorted perception of the actual events that took place. Our resisting arrest criminal defense attorneys work hard to support and defend all of our clients and to recognize and make full use of any potential weakness in the prosecution’s case. 

Don’t hesitate to contact our Fort Lauderdale office today at (954) 302-5391 to schedule a free initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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