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Resisting Arrest in Florida/Resisting an Officer

Individuals who’ve been given a resisting arrest charge, be it without or with violence, usually have another pending criminal case. Yes, some offenders resist an arrest intentionally. But others just don’t know how to conduct themselves when police officers are around, especially during an arrest. Their anxiety could get the best of them, and they could be wrongfully accused of putting up a resistance. If you or a loved one have gotten this type of charge, this blog might shed some light on your case.

Resisting Officer: Definition, Proof, and Grounds

Based on Section 843.02 of Florida Statutes, a “resisting an officer” charge could be served to:

“Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any [law enforcement or probation] officer or another person legally authorized to execute a process in the execution of the legal process or the lawful execution of any legal duty.”

This charge is a form of obstruction of justice. And the definitions and provisions of the “resisting officer” case could be found in Section 843.02 of Florida Statutes. These actions are some of grounds for this charge:

  • Threaten a law enforcement personnel while trying to get away

  • Getting away from the police officer to avoid the arrest

  • Using physical force to avoid an arrest

The prosecution team must be able to produce the following evidence to push through with the charge:

  • Proof of the defendant’s opposition or resistance

  • Legal authorization of the officer executing the arrest

  • Proof of the offenders’ knowledge that the person they resisted was an authorized officer

  • Proof of the legal execution of the arrest process

Section 843.02 also identifies the following as some of the examples of resistance:

  • Refusal to sit down, leave an area when necessary, or be handcuffed

  • Tensing the arms while the officer puts on the handcuffs

  • Refusal to follow lawful verbal commands

  • Giving misleading or false statements during detention or lawful arrest

  • Trying to get away from the law enforcement officer when there’s a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity

  • Acting as a “lookout” or warn a suspect verbally to stop an intended arrest

  • Disrupting an active law enforcement investigation

  • Concealing evidence

Sanctions, Punishments, and Defenses

As with other cases, the severity of the punishment and sanctions for individuals with a resisting officer charge varies based on the level and manner of their resistance.

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor – This is usually given to first-time offenders and those who resist an arrest without violence. The maximum fine is $1000, and the maximum jail time is 1 year.

  • Third-Degree Felony – This could be served to multiple offenders and those who resist officers with violence. The maximum fine is $5000, and the maximum jail time is 5 years.


As an additional charge, resisting an arrest case can easily be avoided. Whether you’re proven guilty or wrongfully accused, turning yourself over to the police as calmly as possible makes the entire process hassle-free. Then, make sure to contact a reputable lawyer. With apt legal guidance, you’ll be able to get the reasonable settlement you deserve.

Are you in Florida? If you are and you need help with a case on resisting an officer, you might like to get in touch with Attorney Tom McGuire and his team at Panhandle Defense Firm. Atty. McGuire and his team have over 30 years of legal practice, which could be your edge in the courtroom.


  1. Resisting Arrest without Violence | FL Attorney

  2. Lawyer explains Resisting Arrest Charges in West Palm Beach, FL

  3. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes

  4. Resisting Officer Without Violence- Florida | Resisting Arrest

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