Can You Resist Unlawful Arrest?
Before a police officer can make an arrest, they must either have an arrest warrant or probable cause to believe a person committed a crime, such as when they suspect a driver of a DUI. Unfortunately, the police do not always abide by these rules. Sometimes they make an unlawful arrest and if it happens to you, it is natural to wonder if you can resist.
Resisting arrest, even an unlawful one, comes with some risks. You may face certain penalties, or even become injured as the officer attempts to complete the arrest. Any time you have been arrested, it is important to speak to a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Resisting Arrest in Florida
Any time a person resists, obstructs, or creates a delay for a law enforcement officer performing their duty by making an arrest, they may be found guilty of resisting arrest. The Florida statutes separate the offense of resisting arrest into two different categories, depending on whether violence was involved.
Resisting arrest without violence is merely obstructing, opposing, or resisting arrest without causing injury or uttering threats. While this is the lesser offense of the two, it is still considered a first-degree misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of the crime may face up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Resisting arrest with violence occurs when a person intentionally resists, opposes, or obstructs an officer making an arrest by using violence or threatening to use violence. This offense is much more serious than resisting arrest without violence. It is a felony of the third degree and individuals convicted will face a maximum five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Even if you are not charged or convicted of the crime an officer was originally trying to arrest you for, you may still face charges of resisting arrest if you do not cooperate.
What to Do During an Unlawful Arrest
To mitigate the risk of becoming injured during an unlawful arrest, or of facing charges in the future, it is always best to cooperate with officers. This is difficult to do when you know the arrest is unlawful. However, it is important to remain calm. Ask the officers why you are being arrested and remain polite and cooperative at all times. Tell them you want to speak to a criminal defense attorney right away and that you will not answer any questions without a lawyer present.
Call Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Proving an arrest was unlawful is difficult, but a Port St. Lucie criminal lawyer can help. If you or someone you love has been unlawfully arrested, do not hesitate to call our experienced lawyers at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We know that you have rights and we will fight to ensure they are upheld to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at (772) 905-8692 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.