Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Florida

By Jonathan Blecher on November 22, 2017

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve heard the term “resisting arrest” before, especially if you’ve watched crime shows on television or action films. For example, you might see a police officer on TV patting down a suspect and when the officer says, “You’re under arrest,” the suspect becomes combative and when the officer tries to get ahold of the suspect, he starts pushing the officer off; he might even get violent.

In other depictions on TV or in the movies, the suspect may hear the word “arrest” and he or she automatically hits the ground running. If the suspect was in a vehicle and ran from the cops, they would be charged with fleeing or eluding an officer under Section 316.1935 of the Florida Statutes. In the scenarios described above (where the suspect was on foot), the suspect was resisting arrest. While Hollywood isn’t always accurate when it depicts criminal investigations and police procedures, it can get pretty close in this case.

Resisting Arrest Under Florida Law

In Florida, resisting arrest is broken down into two separate crimes: 1) resisting officer without violence to his or her person, and 2) resisting officer with violence to his or her person. Under Section 843.02 of the Florida Statutes, resisting an officer without violence is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year in jail, or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by a fine and imprisonment.

Resisting an officer with violence is covered under Section 843.01 of the Florida Statutes. An offense under Sec. 843.01 is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years in jail, or by a $5,000 fine, or by a fine and imprisonment. As you can see, there’s a big difference in the penalties between these two offenses.

If a suspect resisted arrest simply by arguing with the officer, he or she would face up to one year in jail. On the other hand, if the suspect fought the officer off, or tried to kick or hit the officer while they tried to initiate the arrest, the suspect would now be facing up to five years in prison. Unfortunately, it’s not difficult for people to get slapped with this charge, especially when they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the arrest.

If you’re facing charges for resisting arrest with or without violence, I urge you to contact my firm to schedule a free case evaluation. To learn more about my credentials, I encourage you to visit my Attorney Profile page.

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