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Attorney for Obstruction of Justice Cases in Naples, Florida 

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If you have been accused of obstructing justice as part of a court trial, procedure, during a police investigation, or during another legal matter, you will need the assistance of an attorney who is experienced with obstruction of justice cases in the state of Florida. We at Musca Law have 150+ years of combined legal experience across our team of attorneys, and we offer free case evaluations as part of our discussions about your case when you become a new client. Our legal team works efficiently to utilize our strengths in order to provide the most effective strategy for legal representation within the state. 

For more information, call (239) 793-5297 to speak to a representative at our office in Naples, Florida. 

Some Facts about Charges of Obstruction of Justice in Florida 

Ultimately, a variety of activities can fall under the umbrella of crimes constituting the obstruction of justice (also called “obstructing justice”). Each of these crimes involves an action or inaction completed for the purpose of avoiding/resisting law enforcement, prosecuting officials, court members, and other professionals involved with government agencies. 

Some common offenses include: 

  • Resisting a police officer
  • Refusing to help a police officer in need
  • Impersonating a police officer 
  • Escaping an officer by means of negligence or intent
  • Possessing concealed handcuff keys
  • Supplying an inmate with tools to aid an escape from jail 
  • Failing to appear after a release on bail 
  • Fleeing/evading (or attempt to flee/evade) a law enforcement officer
  • Threatening or injuring police animals 
  • Sharing a police officer’s private information 
  • Illegal use of police communication devices 
  • Intentionally depriving crime victims of medical aid 

A full list of specific crimes related to obstructing justice are described in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843

Charges for Resisting and Obstructing Police Officers 

Overall, the charges for resisting and obstructing police officers can vary depending on the severity of the confrontation between the offender and the officer involved. Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.01 and 834.02 outlines the different degrees of punishment people can face after committing this act of obstructing justice: 

  • Chapter 843.01: Any person who violently and aggressively resists an arrest conducted by a law enforcement officer or legal personnel will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 
  • Chapter 843.02: Any person who resists an arrest (without being aggressive or violent) conducted by a law enforcement official or legal personnel will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

Illegal Possession and Concealment of a Handcuff Key 

Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.021(2), any person who illegally obtains and possesses a key for a pair of police handcuffs will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 

Here are some more details concerning the terminology related to this obstruction of justice: 

  • Concealed handcuff key refers to a handcuff key that has been withheld by a suspect, who intended to hide this key from law enforcement officials. These items include keys concealed in clothing and accessories like shoes, socks, hose, undergarments, jewelry, hats, or gloves. 
  • Handcuff key refers to a device or tool that has been created to unlock and remove handcuffs.
  • In custody refers to an incident when an officer places handcuffs on a suspect’s wrists (even if the suspect has not been formally arrested). 

Failing to Provide Aid to Prison Officers Arrest People Who Have Escaped from a Prison 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.04(1-2) dictates that any person (civilian and officers) who refuse to provide assistance to a prison officer during the arrest of an escaped convict will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

Consequences for Refusing to Assist Peace Officers

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.06 dictates that any citizen or officer who must provide assistance to a member of the Florida Highway Patrol, a watchman, or another office of the peace and refuses to provide assistance will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. 

Allowing Criminals to Escape Imprisonment 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.09 and 843.10, jailers or other officers who are supervising criminals will face one of two different forms of punishment if they allow criminals to escape: 

  • Chapter 843.09: Any jailer or member of law enforcement who intentionally and willingly helps convicts escape from legal custody will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, resulting in a punishment of a 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. 
  • Chapter 843.10: Any jailer or member of law enforcement who intentionally and willingly helps a convict escape from legal custody will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

Charges for Allowing Criminals to Escape from Prisons in Florida 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.11 dictates that any person who delivers the necessary tools, weapons, disguises, and other items to a criminal so that this individual may escape from prison and helps this culprit (with the necessary resources) to escape confinement will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine. 

Furthermore, any person who assists prisoners who were not charged with capital offenses will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

This same statute also dictates that, if the escapee uses any weapons or tools against legal officials or commits another crime during his/her attempt to escape, the individual who supplied the necessary items for the escape will be punished under the same guidelines of Florida Laws. 

What Happens if a Defendant on Bail Fails to Appear in a Florida Court? 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.15 dictates that any person who has been released (in keeping with Chapter 903) and intentionally fails to appear at a hearing in a Florida court or does not appear in the presence of any officer representing the Florida justice system will be denied any security that was issued for his/her release. Ultimately, this individual will also face the following forms of punishment: 

  • If the person was released on charges of a felony or is awaiting a conviction for a similar crime of this severity, he/she will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a punishment of a 5-year prison sentence and a fine of $5,000. 
  • If the person was released on charges of a misdemeanor (under identical conditions), he/she will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

Charges for Sharing the Private Information of a Police Officer 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.17 dictates that any person who maliciously (with the intent to obstruct any upholding of Florida laws or interfere with a police officer’s legal duties) releases that the private information of this police officer (specifically home addresses and phone numbers) without receiving the permission or authority of this individual will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable a 1-year prison sentence and/or a $1,000 fine.  

Threatening, Injuring, or Killing Police Animals in Florida 

Besides the men and women who serve as law enforcement officials, Florida law also protects animals who are trained and utilized by legal officials. Overall, these animals include police dogs, fire dogs, SAR dogs, and police horses (in the most common lineup). 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.19 dictates that any person who threatens and/or inflicts any harm against a police animal will face one of two forms of punishment: 

  • People who willingly and intentionally injure or kill a police animal will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a punishment of a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 
  • People who willingly and intentionally slap or inflict bodily injuries on police animals will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 
  • People who willingly and intentionally harass, provoke, tease, or abuse a police animal or attempt to interfere with this animal’s work duties will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. 

Here are some more details concerning the police animals that are protected by Florida State Laws: 

  • Police dog: dogs that are owned and trained by a law enforcement agency to assist police officers with the detection of criminal activity.
  • Fire dog: dogs that are owned and employed by a fire department, fire district, or the Fire Marshal to assist firefighters in the exposure of flammable items or the examination of dangerous situations involving deadly fires.
  • SAR dog: dogs that operate as search-and-rescue agents owned and/or trained by a fire department agency, police agency, or the Fire Marshall for the task of rescuing victims who are trapped beneath materials following a dangerous accident.
  • Police horse: horses that are owned and trained by law enforcement agencies to help officers detect, identify, and intercept criminal activity. 

Illegal Use of Police Communication Devices 

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.167 dictates that no person who resides in the state of Florida is permitted (by Florida law) to intercept any form of police communication to provide assistance to a criminal or to reveal the whereabouts and/or purpose of any police communication device will face varying degrees of charges, depending on the nature of the offense: 

  • People who intercept police communications will face charges of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 60-day prison sentence and a $500 fine. These culprits may also be charged for a 1st-degree misdemeanor. 
  • People who steal police communications devices will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a punishment of a 1-year prison sentence and a $1,000 fine. 

Details about Ignoring a Crime Victim Who Needs Medical Assistance 

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.21(1-2), any person who willingly takes a crime victim into custody or wields control over this victim in an attempt to prevent this person from receiving necessary medical attention out of an attempt to impede the investigation of a crime will face one of two forms of punishment: 

  • If the victim is suffering from a medical condition that worsens due to a lack of medical attention, the culprit who has taken this victim into custody will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. 
  • If the victim dies due to the fact that he/she did not receive any medical attention, the culprit who took the victim into custody will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. 

Reaching a Verdict for Violently Resisting Arrest

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 843.01 and Criminal Jury Case 21.1 dictates that members of the court and a criminal jury must prove (without any shred of doubt) that: 

  • The defendant willfully, intentionally, and voluntarily resisted an arresting officer by threatening violence. 
  • The arresting officer (victim, in this case) had been completing legal duties. 
  • The arresting officer (victim) had been granted permission to carry out a routine arrest.
  • The defendant had fully been aware that the victim was a police officer. 

Overall, the defendant can build a strong defense if the police officer used excessive force to initiate the confrontation in question. 

For more information about details for defense and trials in the Florida Courts, please review Chapter 21 of Criminal Jury Instructions as outlined by the Florida Supreme Court. 

Get the Justice You Deserve with a Musca Criminal Defense Attorney! 

Being accused of any type of criminal offense can be extremely risky and dangerous, as your freedom has been put on the line. Likewise, your family members will also be affected by this situation, particularly if you are the primary wage-earner in your household. Likewise, your private and professional circles will also potentially suffer from this development. Take the next step to get your life back in order by contacting Musca Law today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 

 

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