Facing a potential arrest can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you haven’t committed any crime. Amid the confusion, you’re required to stay calm and avoid obstructing any law enforcement officer. Behaving inappropriately can result in additional resisting without violence charges, which impose heightened penalties on the offender.
Therefore, even acts of minor defiance can bring forth extensive legal problems for offenders. That’s why you should consult a criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford to explore the best legal path for your case.
What Is Resisting Without Violence?
Resisting without violence is a crime committed when a person willfully and knowingly resists, obstructs, or opposes law enforcement in performing a legal duty. You may be arrested for the offense of resisting or obstructing an officer without violence if you:
- Run or walk away from an officer
- Refuse to leave after an officer instructs you to vacate an area
- Tense your arms when an officer attempts to apply handcuffs
- Hide evidence
- Evade police
- Purposefully mislead police
Unfortunately, these charges are quite vague, and a law enforcement officer may choose to add them if they feel your arrest was troublesome.
What Are the Penalties for Resisting Without Violence?
Resisting an officer without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor with extensive fines and jail terms. Individuals charged with resisting without violence may face the following penalties:
- One year in jail
- One year of probation
- A fine of up to $1000
Remember that even acts with minor violence carry separate and more severe consequences. You should contact a criminal defense attorney to help ensure your best chances against resisting arrest charges.
Possible Defenses Against Resisting Without Violence Charges
Each resisting without violence charge is unique. An attorney can help analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding your charges and help develop the best possible legal arguments. Some of the possible defenses include:
1. Illegal Arrest
Typically, a person can resist an unlawful arrest without violence. Therefore, you can demonstrate that the officer had insufficient suspicion to warrant an arrest. An officer can only conduct a lawful arrest if the facts and circumstances within their knowledge are sufficient to warrant that an offense has been committed. You cannot be charged with resisting without violence if the officer was not acting within their lawful duty.
2. Unknown Officer Status
A defendant can only face resisting without violence charges if they reasonably knew or should have known that the person attempting to arrest them was a law enforcement officer. If an officer fails to identify themselves or was not wearing the proper attire, you may argue that you didn’t know you were resisting an officer. Instead, you felt you were being attacked by another person and forced to defend yourself.
3. Involuntary Reaction
You can argue that you didn’t intend to resist and that your behavior was involuntary. This helps dispute the element of willful intent. For example, when being handcuffed, you involuntarily tensed your arms due to the pain or discomfort.
There are cases where the arresting officers use excessive force on the defendant. In these circumstances, the defendant could take action to repel the excessive force. Your attorney can demonstrate that the turning away or any other action was self-defense against an aggressive officer.
5. Protected Speech
A person’s words alone are not sufficient to convict them of resisting without violence. There are no laws that prevent you from verbally protesting police action. You can only be charged with resisting without violence if your words were accompanied by obstructive physical conduct. If not, your charges are subject to dismissal. Your lawyer can also argue that your actions didn’t interfere with or obstruct the officer’s legal duty.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford to Protect Your Rights
Resisting arrest without violence is a serious criminal charge in Florida that can significantly impact a person’s life. If convicted, you may have to pay fines and have a permanent mark on your record. Often, the police can make mistakes during an arrest and try to pin the resisting without violence on you. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help ensure you’re not wrongfully convicted.
At the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford, our skilled criminal defense attorneys protect the rights of those accused in Florida. We understand the sneaky tactics the police use to aggravate your charges and are ready to employ all potential defenses in your case. Call us at (239) 315-9750 or contact us online today to speak with an attorney well-versed in handling resisting without violence cases.