Resisting an Officer with Violence

Criminal Attorney Representing Defendants in the Clearwater Area

It is a crime to resist an officer with violence in Florida. You can face a significant sentence for violently resisting a law enforcement officer, whether it is a police officer, a correctional officer, a probation officer, a deputy sheriff, or someone else who is authorized to execute a subpoena or warrant. Prosecutors usually pursue these charges aggressively, making it important to retain an experienced Clearwater violent crime attorney. At Hanlon Law, we guard the rights of people accused of resisting an officer with or without violence.

Resisting an Officer With Violence

Under Florida Statutes section 843.01, it is illegal to willfully and knowingly block any law enforcement officer by perpetrating violence toward the officer or offering to perpetrate a violent act. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant willfully and knowingly opposed, obstructed, or resisted the officer by doing violence toward them or offering to do it, the officer was engaged in executing legal process or a legal duty at the time of the violent resistance, the officer was legally authorized to execute process at the time of the violent resistance, and the defendant knew that the person whom they were resisting was someone legally authorized to execute legal process at the time of the violent resistance. For example, if an officer is arresting you for rape and you punch the officer, it is likely that you would be charged with resisting an officer with violence and possibly battery on a law enforcement officer.

If you are convicted of resisting an officer with violence, you can face the sentence for a third-degree felony. This is a maximum of five years in prison or on probation and a fine of $5,000. Even if you do not have much of a criminal history, resisting an officer with violence is taken seriously, and you may face prison time. If you injured the officer, you will probably also be charged with aggravated battery on an officer and spend time in prison. However, there are defenses that a Clearwater criminal lawyer may be able to raise on your behalf.

The defense that we raise will depend on the particular circumstances under which the charges arose. For example, if the officer was in plainclothes, and you did not know that they were a law enforcement officer, it may be possible to argue that an element of the charge has not been met. Resistance charges need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and in some cases, it is possible to raise a doubt about one or more elements of the charge. For example, we may be able to show that your actions were not knowing and willful beyond a reasonable doubt. Or we may be able to prove that the officer was not engaged in performing a lawful duty at the time of the incident. For example, if a law enforcement officer were doing a job for a private security company, they would not be protected under this law.

Police brutality sometimes occurs. There may be a viable defense in showing that an officer was arresting you by using excessive force. You cannot use violence to resist any arrest, even if it is illegal. However, you are allowed to use reasonable force to resist the use of excessive force by a police officer arresting you. For example, if you are being beaten severely with a club by a police officer during an investigation of an Internet sex crime, it may be reasonable to hold up your hands to avoid the club hitting your skull. You may also be permitted to use reasonable force to defend yourself against a law enforcement officer who is illegally frisking you, illegally entering your home, or illegally detaining you.

Hire a Knowledgeable Clearwater Attorney to Fight a Violent Crime Charge

Resisting an officer with violence may be tacked onto other charges. It is taken quite seriously and prosecuted vigorously. It is important to secure counsel as soon as possible. If you have been charged with resisting an officer with violence in Clearwater, you should retain a tough and experienced lawyer. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has aggressively and knowledgeably represented the accused since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at (727) 897-5413 or complete our online form.