Is Resisting Arrest a Crime?
5 Examples of Resisting Arrest You Need to Know
If you’ve seen any law enforcement shows, such as Cops, you probably know what resisting arrest looks like. It can be physical, verbal, or behavioral and may occur intentionally or unintentionally. The tricky thing about resisting arrest charges is they are based solely on the officer’s perceptions, meaning they are subjective and could be fueled by underlying biases. For instance, if you repeatedly question an officer’s motive to pull you over, they may perceive your questions as resistance.
According to Florida law, whoever resists, obstructs, or opposes a police officer in active duty without using violence is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or $1,000 fines. However, whoever knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes a police officer in active duty by using violence is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 fines. As you can see, resisting an officer with or without violence is a line you don’t want to cross.
But what actions are seen as resisting arrest? They can span a broad range of things, such as:
Fleeing: Running away from an officer is a common way people resist arrest. They may cause a high-speed chase around town, physically run away from the police on foot, or otherwise escape the police and arrest in any way possible.
Once they get to a “safe” area after fleeing from the cops, many suspects try to hide wherever they can, such as homes, vehicles, businesses, forests and parks, around rivers and lakes, and backyards, for example. As a result of these actions, they could be looking at charges for resisting arrest on top of their original criminal charges.
Physically resisting: Punching, kicking, swinging, going limp, and otherwise resisting an officer using physical force is another way that suspects resist arrest. As you know, police brutality is a concern throughout the US, so physical force and violence by the police are often met with physical force and violence by suspects. If you are charged with resisting arrest using violence in Florida, your lawyer may be able to argue that it was justified self-defense depending on the nature of your case.
Lying: Lying to the police is a form of resisting, obstructing, and opposing a police officer. So, if you lie to the police, you could get in serious trouble. If they ask for your ID, registration, and proof of insurance, you should answer truthfully. Do not give the police a fake ID or tell them a fake name. However, it’s important to know your rights because you have the right to remain silent during certain encounters with the police.
If you are detained and getting questioned or got arrested and are being interrogated by the police, you may exercise your Constitutional right to remain silent to avoid self-incriminating yourself. For the best chances of de-escalating your situation, you should call a lawyer to get legal advice about how to navigate your situation.
Threatening the officer: Verbally threatening an officer who is performing any work duty could be seen as resisting arrest. Threatening an officer could be anything from claiming “I’m going to kill you!” to “If you make these handcuffs any tighter you will be sorry.” Anything you say that makes it harder for an officer to arrest you or otherwise perform their legal duties could result in additional legal penalties.
While cursing and swearing are not necessarily resisting arrest, a police officer may perceive them to be. With this in mind, if you are getting arrested, refrain from making threats or saying anything that could be taken out of context, or else you may end up with resisting arrest charges,
Helping another person avoid arrest: Even if you’re not resisting an officer on your own behalf, helping someone else resist arrest is just as serious. For instance, if your friend is caught up in a high-speed police chase around town, do not help them out by blocking off the roads with your vehicle. If your friend gets detained and questioned by the police at a shopping mall, do not attempt to “distract” the police by screaming “gun!” or “fire!” to catch the police’s attention. The only thing you will do is get yourself in trouble.
As you can see, resisting arrest carries serious consequences. If you are facing charges, get legal representation as soon as you can. I encourage you to retain The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. for your criminal defense needs by contacting me at (561) 475-2752!