Resisting Arrest Defense In Okaloosa County & Walton County
Criminal Defense Lawyer For Resisting Arrest Charge In Fort Walton Beach, Destin & Elsewhere In Okaloosa County
Here in Okaloosa County, Florida, under the category of Resisting Arrest, there are two categories. One is a misdemeanor, Resisting without Violence (Florida Statute 843.02); and the other is a felony, Resisting with Violence (Florida Statutes 843.01).
Depending on the facts of your case, you could be charged with either one, and many times there is not much from a legal standpoint to distinguish between the two.
That is because in the real world—cops believe that “resisting” in and of itself has some level of physicality and therefore there is not much of a stretch to make the connection to “violence.”
It doesn’t help matters that officers are more likely today to use their taser guns than ever before. And that is why we’ve seen an increase in the number of felony resisting cases.
To employ the taser means that it must be justified in terms of force. This leads to a higher incidence of felony level, resisting with violence arrests.
I’ve even heard ex-cops admit that they were taught: “If you have to put your hands on them, you better charge them with a felony.” Nowadays, it goes more like, “if you have to ‘taze’ them, better charge them with Resisting With Violence or Battery on Law Enforcement.” (Both of which are felony level offenses.)
Locally, in Okaloosa or Walton County, the charge is often referred to as Resisting an Officer or just Resisting Law Enforcement Officer. Other courts may use Obstructing Officer or Opposing Officer, not to be confused with the charge of Obstructing Justice, which has more to do with interfering with a police investigation.
I have represented countless clients charged with Resisting Arrest, both in misdemeanor and felony court. And in either case, it is vitally important to have an attorney that can analyze the legality of the police interaction to determine if a defense may apply to your case.
Most often, Resisting Arrest is brought as an additional or companion charge to another crime. Obviously this makes sense if, in fact, the arresting officer had a legitimate and legal basis to arrest someone.
However, if the officer did not have a legal basis to detain or arrest an individual, or if they were acting outside the scope of a legal duty, outside the law, then that individual, may have a defense to the charge(s).
Many people do not realize that the law does allow a person to resist an unlawful arrest, so long as the resistance is not done with violence. For example, a person may lawfully run or flee from an officer if the officer does not have probable cause of a crime committed or a lawful arrest warrant.
Additionally, if a person is stopped or encountered by law enforcement without legal cause, there is no requirement that the individual answer any questions or even disclose their identity.
If you have been charged with Resisting Arrest in Destin, Fort Walton Beach or elsewhere in Okaloosa County, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation.