Resisting an officer in Florida is committed when a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes law enforcement officer.
The charge can be elevated to with violence if the defendant threatens or engages in violent conduct against a law enforcement officer, who was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty.
Elements of Resisting an Officer
To prove that resisting arrest has occurred, the state must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant knowingly and willfully resisted, obstructed, or opposed the law enforcement officer;
- At the time, the alleged victim was engaged in the execution of legal process or lawful execution of duty;
- At the time, the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process;
- At the time, the defendant knew the alleged victim was an officer or person legally authorized to execute legal process.
After being pulled over for excessive speeding, James was asked by the officer to step out of the car. James denied the officers request and remained in the car for some time. Finally, the police officer had to open the door himself and pull James out of the vehicle. The officer arrested James for resisting an officer without violence and also issued him a speeding ticket.
Maximum Penalty for Resisting an Officer
The penalty for resisting an officer depends on whether or not the defendant acted in a violent manner.
- Without Violence: First-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or on probation and a $1,000 fine.
- With Violence: Third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison or on probation and a $5,000 fine.