If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, it is imperative to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Charges for resisting arrest in Florida can carry hefty fines and possible jail time on top of your original criminal offenses. It’s consequences can also impact your future job prospects, student loans, child custody battles, and anything else that requires a background check. 

Smith & Eulo have been working diligently for the citizens of polk county for 20+ years, and we will ensure that your case will be treated fairly and swiftly.

What is the sentence for resisting arrest?

When it comes to resisting arrest, the manner in which you acted will play a big part in determining your sentence, specifically how aggressive you were towards the arresting officer. If you’re facing criminal charges for resisting arrest in Lakeland, Orlando, and beyond, Smith & Eulo’s criminal defense attorneys will be able to help with your legal issues.

Without Violence

According to Florida Statute 843.02 if you resisted, obstructed, or opposed any individual doing their legal duty in a non-violent way, you could be charged with resisting arrest without violence. Non-violent actions that qualify as resisting arrest are:

  • Ignoring verbal commands
  • Refusing to leave the scene
  • Hiding evidence
  • Not standing up when told to
  • Refusing to place hands behind back or tensing arms
  • Attempting to persuade others to resist with you

It’s also important to note that these charges aren’t limited to resisting arrest from law enforcement officers. These charges can be applied when you resist arrest from a member of the parole commission or any other representative of the department of law enforcement.

With Violence

If you’ve resisted arrest in a violent and aggressive manner, you could be charged with Resisting Arrest WIth Violence, as per Florida Statute 843.01. Examples include hitting or kicking an officer while they’re trying to arrest you, pushing an officer off of you, or using a weapon against an officer. 

Can you Go to Jail for Resisting Arrest?

Yes, these charges could lead to jail time and additional fees. If you act violently during your arrest, your charges will qualify as third degree felony charges, and you’ll face up to 5 years in jail and a maximum $5000 fine. If you’re resisted arrest in a non-violent way, these charges qualify as a first degree misdemeanor, for which you’d pay up to $1,000 in fines and spend up to a year in jail. 

These cases come with further complications that make having a criminal defense attorney absolutely necessary. 

  • If you have a history of criminal activity or similar charges in the past, you’ll likely be facing extended jail sentences
  • Resisting arrest will generally come as an additional offense to the one you’re being arrested for
  • If you’re convicted, it can be used to show consciousness of guilt for the charges you were originally being arrested for
  • Pretrial diversion programs, like community service or a rehabilitation program, aren’t considered for these charges

If you’re being charged for resisting arrest, you’ll likely have two options: attesting the case in court with the help of your lawyer, or accepting the allegations and entering a plea. In either case, Simeth & Eulo Law Firm would be invaluable in helping you defend yourself.

Because charges of resisting arrest are so subjective in nature, the prosecution has to prove that your perceived resistance was intentional–not a natural reaction to an unexpected situation. For example, if you were to flex your arms as the arresting officer was putting handcuffs on you, or accidentally jerk away, you couldn’t be convicted of resisting arrest. A state prosecutor will have to prove the following:

  • You resisted, obstructed, or opposed the arresting officer
  • The police officer, at the time of the arrest, was conducting the “lawful execution of a legal duty” and not just on the job doing ordinary investigative or administrative work
  • You knew that the arresting officer was an officer of the law, meaning, the officer was not undercover or off duty.
  • The arresting officer was indeed an officer of the law; you cannot be charged with resisting arrest if you resisted a citizen’s arrest

A good criminal defense lawyer will understand the weight of your criminal case and will work to dissect the reality of what occured to make sure that the truth of your arrest comes to light. By working with a Lakeland criminal defense lawyer with experience in resisting arrest charges, you’re also employing strong, strategic defense strategies in your favor. Contact the Smith & Eulo Law Firm today to discuss what our legal services can do for you.