Resisting an officer with violence
You are not allowed to resist a law enforcement officer in Florida. You will face greater penalties if you are convicted of resisting an officer with violence, rather than nonviolently. There are many reasons why people resist police officers. Sometimes people have the misguided hope that if they just try to run away, the problem will disappear, and they get caught in a struggle with the officer. If you are charged with resisting an officer with violence, you should be aware that it is a very serious charge, and you should consult St. Petersburg violent crime lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law, a firm dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused.Resisting an Officer with Violence
Both resisting an officer without violence and resisting an officer with violence are crimes in Florida. The latter is more serious. Florida Statutes section 843.01 provides that you can be convicted if a prosecutor can show beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and willfully resisted, opposed, or obstructed an officer by offering to commit a violent act or by actually perpetrating a violent act toward the officer. Also, at the time, the person against whom you used violence must have been an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process, and they must have been actually executing that legal process. You also must have known that the other person was an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process. Many different people count as officers within the meaning of this law, including county probation officers, parole supervisors, members of the Florida Commission on Offender Review, and administrative aides employed by the Commission.
If you are convicted of this third-degree felony, you face the possibility of five years’ incarceration or five years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. Even if you do not have much of a record, it is likely that the prosecutor will pursue the charges aggressively and that the court will take it seriously. If the officer is not injured, and you did not use guns, knives, or other weapons, you may face months of incarceration. In contrast, if the officer has serious injuries that you inflicted with a weapon, it is likely that you will spend time in prison, and possibly not only for resisting an officer with violence but also for aggravated battery on an officer.
Many people charged with this crime feel overwhelmed and hopeless. It is hard to face these charges knowing that a jury is more likely to believe an officer's version of what happened than yours just because the officer has a badge. However, there are often defenses that a St. Petersburg criminal lawyer may be able to raise. It may be possible to raise a reasonable doubt with regard to one of the elements or negate it altogether. If the officer was not executing a legal duty, for example, you cannot be convicted of this crime. Similarly, it may be possible to raise a reasonable doubt about whether your actions were willful and knowing, or whether you knew that the person whom you were resisting was authorized to execute process or was a police officer. This might apply, for instance, if the officer were off duty and not wearing any indication that he was a police officer.
It is not a valid defense to argue that the officer arresting you turned out to be arresting you unlawfully. However, there are some situations in which an arresting officer uses excessive force. Perhaps the only way to defend yourself from being seriously injured or killed by an officer using excessive force was through violence, and in that case, you may have a self-defense argument. You can only defend yourself to the extent that you reasonably think that this force is necessary.Seek Guidance from a Knowledgeable Battery Defense Lawyer in St. Petersburg
According to one analysis, the overall crime rate in St. Petersburg is 80% higher than the average rate of crimes committed in Florida. If you are seeking a skillful lawyer to fight charges of resisting an officer with violence or a related crime, such as felony battery, Hanlon Law may be able to represent you. We have been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at (727) 897-5413 or complete our online form.