It’s not uncommon to believe that, if an officer is trying to arrest you, you can simply run away or fight off the officer in order to avoid jail time. However, more often than not, this tactic ends in a criminal charge for resisting arrest, which often comes with severe penalties if you are convicted.
If you are facing a charge of resisting arrest in Florida, you will need the help of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer on your side. Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel has over 30 years of experience fighting various types of criminal charges and will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career.
When Can Florida Prosecutors Charge Resisting Arrest as a Felony?
Resisting arrest in Florida can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the underlying facts of the case. Misdemeanor resisting arrest charges are generally reserved for cases where:
- No weapons were involved
- The suspect did not inflict serious bodily harm to an officer or another person
- There was no damage to property
According to Florida Statute 843.02, if the person threatens to kill or seriously injure any law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician (EMT), or another public employee while resisting arrest, they will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
While the majority of cases involving resisting arrest are charged as misdemeanors, it is possible for them to be charged as felonies if there are aggravating circumstances. For instance, should the person resist arrest with the use of violence, such as by using any physical force against a police officer, the charge will likely rise to the felony level. This includes:
- Using arms or legs to fight back against an officer trying to restrain them
- Punching or kicking an officer during an attempted detainment
Possible Penalties For Resisting Arrest With Violence in Florida
Resisting arrest with violence is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. A felony conviction may also result in long-term consequences for your professional and personal life. Felony convictions appear on your criminal record for the rest of your life, making it difficult to get or keep a job, housing, or professional license.
First-time offenders may be able to qualify for a diversion or intervention program. If you have never been arrested or charged with any crime and if the police agree to it, your criminal defense attorney may be able to get you into the first offender program, which would get the charge dropped entirely.
If you have been arrested or charged with resisting arrest in Florida, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you are able to do so. An experienced lawyer might be able to show the court that you acted in self-defense, or the police officer did not act lawfully during the incident, among other strategies to defend your case.
Defend A Charge For Resisting Arrest With Violence With A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
When you work with Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel, you can rest assured that he will help you explore and understand all of your legal options. Mr. Gabriel is committed to safeguarding the rights of his clients and will work diligently to get their charges for resisting arrest with or without violence reduced or, in some cases, dropped completely.
Start with a free consultation today by calling Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575. You can also complete an online contact form to learn more.