Orlando Resisting Arrest Without Violence Defense Attorney

Section 843.02 is a rather vague provision which could apply to pretty much any behavior which an officer finds annoying but not threatening. That includes things like shrugging shoulders, mumbling answers to questions, or failing to comply with commands quickly enough to suit the officer. As a result, officers often allege that persons violated resisting arrest without violence law when they have nothing else to charge them with.

At Sercombe Law, we work hard to uphold your rights in the face of police and prosecutor overreaches. Since freedom of expression is a Constitutional right, most forms of verbal and nonverbal speech are protected. This right forms the basis of our defense in resisting arrest without violence claims. We then build on this foundation to give you the best possible overall defense.

Elements of Resisting an Officer Without Violence

843.02 is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Since it is a nonviolent offense, first-time offenders may be eligible for a number of pretrial diversion and other programs which keep the offense off your criminal record.

To obtain a conviction, Orange County prosecutors must prove every element of every offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of an 843.02 infraction are:

  • Resisting, Obstructing, or Opposing: These three verbs all imply a physical act. Filming police officers is a good example of this type of resistance. The Supreme Court has yet to decide if such conduct is a fundamental right. So for now, officers have rather wide leeway when telling people to step back or turn off their cell phone cameras.
  • Law Enforcement Officer: This section is a bit subjective as well. Some people, such as neighborhood watch patrollers or police auxiliary units, are not really civilians but not really law enforcement personnel either. Additionally, even full-time law enforcement officers often do not identify themselves as such.
  • Without Threatening Violence: If there is any threat of any violence, an 843.02 charge cannot stand up in court. These threats could include provocative gestures as well as angry words.

If the prosecutor’s evidence is weak, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to reckless conduct or another lower-level misdemeanor.

Possible Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Orlando

There may be some affirmative defenses as well. If the defendant reasonably believes that the officer will use excessive force, some pulling away or passive resistance is probably justified. Additionally, the officer’s command must be based on either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. A badge is not a license to bully.

The defendant has the burden of proof in affirmative defense cases. Typically, these defenses are much easier to establish if there was at least one corroborating witness.

Resisting arrest without violence charges are difficult to prove in court. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orlando, contact Sercombe Law. We routinely handle matters in Orange County and nearby jurisdictions.