Resisting With or Without Violence in Pinellas County, FL

Florida law prohibits interfering or resisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her official duties. The penalties depend, in part, on whether the interference or resisting occurred with or without violence.

False or exaggerated accusations of resisting or opposing an officer are common, particularly when the officer acts aggressively or injures the person being detained.

For accusations of resisting without violence, Florida Statute Section 843.02, F.S., makes it a first degree misdemeanor to resist, obstruct, or oppose the following types of officers in the execution of legal process or the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to that person:

  • a law enforcement officer;
  • a correctional officer; or
  • a probation officer.

The following two elements of the crime must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt at trial:

  • the officer was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty; and
  • the defendant’s action, by his or her words, conduct, constituted obstruction or resistance of that lawful duty.

Rarely are offensive words enough to constitute resisting or obstructing an officer. The courts have held that “a person’s exercise of free speech, without more, in an open public place while an officer is engaged in the execution of a legal duty must do more than merely irritate, annoy, or distract the officer to constitute a crime.” D.A.W. v. State, 945 So. 2d 624, 627 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006).

Under Section 843.01, F.S., resisting an officer with violence can be charged as a third degree felony. The crime requires an additional element that the knowingly and willfully resisting, obstructing, or opposing any officer engaged in the lawful execution of any legal duty, by offering or doing violence to that person.

Attorney for Resisting an Officer Crimes in Clearwater, FL

If you were charged with resisting an officer without or without violence in Pinellas County, FL, contact an attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We are experienced in fighting these charges, particularly when a law enforcement officer makes a false or exaggerated accusation.

We understand the best ways to fight resisting an officer with or without violence, and affirmative defenses that can be raised at trial or in pre-trial motion hearings. When appropriate, we can file a motion to dismiss the charges not supported by sufficient evidence.

Visit our office at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd #701, Clearwater, FL 33762. Our offices are near the Criminal Justice Center (CJC) Courthouse in Clearwater, FL.

Call us at (727) 210-7004.

This article was last updated on Friday, January 26, 2024.