Three suspects were in custody on Christmas Eve after a high-speed boat chase that ended 70 miles from northwest Cuba. The chase lasted nearly 24 hours before authorities apprehended the suspects. The suspects stole a 33-foot boat, with 300-horsepower engines from Fort Myers Beach. Those large engines allowed the suspect to reach high speeds and elude police. While charges have not yet been filed, it is likely the defendants could face theft and resisting an officer without violence charges.
What is Resisting Arrest?
Under Florida law, resisting an officer without violence is any non-violent attempt to interfere with a law enforcement officer carrying out his or her duties, including attempting to arrest a suspect. It is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or twelve months probation. Oftentimes, resisting an officer without violence is an offense added to criminal charges to supplement other charges.
In order to convict a defendant, a prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that:
- The defendant obstructed, resisted, or opposed an officer of the law;
- The officer was legally executing their duties;
- The officer was legally authorized to execute their duty; and
- The defendant knew the officer, or other law enforcement personnel, was authorized to take action.
Minor Offenses May Lead to a Charge of Resting Arrest
Even simple behaviors could lead to an arrest or constitute resistance:
- Bracing arms while being handcuffed;
- Disobeying verbal commands;
- Refusing to sit or stand;
- Providing false information during a lawful arrest;
- Providing false or expired identification during a lawful detention or arrest;
- Hiding evidence;
- Refusing to act as directed;
- Evading police where there suspicion of criminal misconduct; or
- Inciting others to disrupt police activities.
What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest?
Resisting an Officer, or resisting arrest without violence is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This is the maximum punishment that the law allows for the offense. Many first-time offenders are sentenced to probation and find they have created a permanent criminal records. When the court imposes probation, it will range from 6 to 12 months. Individuals with more extensive criminal records may receive 30 to 90 days in jail.
Defense to Resisting Arrest
Florida law also provides an accursed with several defenses to Resisting Without Violence charges. These defenses include:
- Involuntary Resistance: Placing handcuffs on a suspect may cause pain and lead the suspect to pull away. These types of reflexes and unintentional actions may are not resistance or opposition as defined by law.
- Absence of Lawful Duty: The officer arresting the defendant must execute the arrest in a lawful manner. If the officer is making an arrest outside of his or her legal duty, the prosecutor will have a hard time justifying the charge.
- Failure to Explain Arrest: If an officer fails to explain an arrest to a defendant, it may not render the arrest illegal, however, a defendant will be able to use this as an explanation for their conduct.
Seek Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with resisting an officer, then you may need help from an attorney. The lawyers at Moses & Rooth understand resisting an officer charges and how to defend clients against these types of charge to get the best outcome possible. Please contact us today at (407)-377-0150 to schedule an appointment to go over the facts of your case.