Any time you fight with a police officer or resist them while they are carrying out their duty as an officer, you are facing criminal charges and possible jail or prison time. There are two types of Resisting an Officer charges in Destin and throughout Florida: (1) Resisting an Officer Without Violence and (2) Resisting an Officer With Violence.
What is the definition of Resisting an Officer?
According to Florida Statute 843.01, you can be found guilty of Resisting an Officer if you knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct, or oppose an officer who is in the lawful execution of their duty. If you are accused of doing so and also committing violence against the officer, you will be charged with Resisting an Officer With Violence.
What is the penalty for Resisting an Officer?
Resisting with Violence is a third degree felony. This means that the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $5000.00 fine. Under the Florida Punishment Code Scoresheet, this charge is a 28 point offense. While this point value is below the 44 point threshold for mandatory prison time, it is common for prosecutors to seek jail time for any crime against law enforcement. If you have been charged with Resisting with Violence, you need a Destin criminal lawyer.
Resisting without Violence is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1000.00 fine.
What defenses are there for Resisting an Officer?
As the statute states, the State must prove that you acted knowingly AND willfully. This means they must be able to show that you knew the person was an officer and that your actions were willful. This comes up a lot in situations where the suspect was intoxicated or under the influence to the point where they either didn’t realize the person was an officer, or their actions weren’t intentional or willful.
The State also must prove that the officer was engaged in the lawful execution of his or her legal duty. If the officer was acting outside of their capacity as a police officer, arguably this charge wouldn’t apply.
What should I do if I am charged with Resisting an Officer?
Resisting an Officer charges in Destin are serious and demand a serious and well-planned response. Rather than trust your freedom to a court-appointed public defender, ask yourself whether you would feel more confident walking into a court with an experienced Destin criminal defense attorney that YOU have chosen. If the answer to that question is yes, then give me a call.
Call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 if you have been charged with Resisting an Officer in Destin.