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Resisting an Officer

Resisting an Officer, or resisting arrest, is a crime defined in Chapter 843 of the Florida Statutes. Resisting an officer can occur with or without violence, which affects the possible penalties and consequences if found guilty. Generally, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant knowingly and willfully resisted, obstructed, or opposed another person (victim)
  • At the time, the victim was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal process or duty
  • At the time, the victim was an officer or a person legally authorized to execute process
  • At the time, the defendant knew the victim was an officer or a person legally authorized to execute process
Resisting an Officer Without Violence

To prove this crime, the State must prove the four elements listed above beyond a reasonable doubt. Resisting an officer without violence does not only apply to arrests. Resisting an officer could be running when asked to stop by the police or failing to obey an officer’s instructions. Resisting an officer without violence is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, one year of probation, and a fine of $1,000.

Resisting an Officer With Violence

In addition to the four elements listed above, to prove the crime of resisting an officer with violence, the State must also prove that the defendant resisted, obstructed, or opposed the victim by offering to do violence or doing violence on him or her. Here, “offering” means to threatening, so even if an officer is never actually injured or harmed, the threat of violence can result in a charge. Resisting an officer with violence is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, five years of probation, and a fine of $5,000.

When it comes to charges of resisting an officer, it is important to remember that the State must prove all of the above elements in order to meet its incredibly high burden of proof. If even one element falls short of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, then there is no conviction. Because there are numerous elements to meet, there are also several possible defenses. The defenses for resisting an officer or resisting arrest can arise from the circumstances surrounding the case. You’ll notice that the elements of the charge require the State to prove that the victim was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal process or duty, that the victim was legally authorized to execute this duty, and that the defendant knew the victim was an officer at the time of the incident. When the evidence is insufficient to prove these very important factors, the State’s likelihood of proving a crime against you decreases. This is particularly important for charges of resisting arrest without violence because while resisting an officer with violence is never justified, resisting an officer without violence may have a legal justification that can help your case.

This is where hiring Thompson Law, P.A. becomes the best tool for your defense. Attorney Matt Thompson has handled hundreds of resisting an officer, both with and without violence, as a state prosecutor and as a private defense attorney. His extensive knowledge of the law can help ensure that your case is resolved quickly. Take one of our recent cases as an example: our client hired us to resolve a charge of resisting an officer without violence. Because of the circumstances surrounding the case, Matt Thompson was able to show that the officer was not engaged in the lawful execution of a legal process when he entered our client’s home uninvited. After exposing this fact to the state, a “nolle prosequi” was filed, essentially dismissing our client’s case completely.

False Reports of Commission of a Crime

Like resisting an officer, false reports of a commission of a crime are considered obstruction of justice. False reports are defined by Florida Statute 817.49. Essentially, false reports of commission of a crime occur when someone willfully provides, or causes to be provided, information that the defendant knew to be false to a law enforcement officer. Here, “willfully” means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely. Because this charge relies so much on the State proving what the defendant did or did not know, a defense attorney who will aggressively attack the State’s evidence is of extreme value. This value increases considering what’s at stake if convicted – as a first degree misdemeanor, false reports are punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, one year of probation, and a fine of $1,000.

The Thompson Law Approach

Attorney Matt Thompson’s philosophy is that “no one has talked their way out of an arrest.” Therefore, fighting with an officer, physically or verbally, does you absolutely no good. Your fight should take place, through your attorney, in court. No one should ever make physical contact with an officer and the law supports this. If you feel that you are being wrongfully arrested, the best thing you can do is take the ride to jail peacefully, and hire a competent, knowledgeable, and aggressive defense attorney to fight for you in court.

At Thompson Law, we believe firmly that the best defense is one that is uniquely crafted to fit the circumstances of your case. No matter how similar cases may be, the facts are never identical. Using a cookie-cutter approach that some big law firms use simply does not get the best results for clients. We take the time to sit down with each client, actively listening to their recount of their arrest. Even before you decide to hire attorney Matt Thompson, your free case evaluation can happen right here at our office so that you get the benefit of meeting your attorney before making a final decision. If you or a loved one is facing jail time, one of the most important choices you’ll have regarding your defense is which law firm to hire. We would be honored to have Thompson Law be your number one choice.

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