Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer

Resisting a law enforcement officer is what we in the legal community refer to as a “catch all” charge that officers can add to a case when no other charge is “provable.”  If a jury believes an officer over you, the charge can usually be proven.  All the officer has to show is that he gave you a lawful command and you failed to obey it (by resisting, obstructing or opposing him or her).

This is usually a misdemeanor offense, however it can be elevated to the felony level if done with violence to the officer or even a threat to do violence.  Defenses that can be used against this charge include claiming that the officer was acting unlawfully or that the officer was acting with excessive force.  Any lawyer can tell you that these are the standard defenses, however, an experienced lawyer can   offer ways to show to a prosecutor (and jury, if necessary) how the officer may have been acting unlawfully or with excessive force.

Providing false information to a law enforcement officer is also criminally punishable in Florida and is considered obstruction of justice.  Another common offense is tampering with physical evidence.  That can be done by altering, destroying, concealing any record, document or thing dealing with a criminal investigation.  Clients can usually avoid getting into trouble here by simply telling law enforcement that they would prefer not to speak with them or cooperate.  It is better to not say anything than to say something that is not true to a law enforcement officer.  Everyone makes mistakes.  If you do, we are here to help you.


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