Is it Illegal to Resist an Unlawful Arrest?

Police officers can only arrest a person under very specific circumstances. They must believe someone has committed a crime, such as when they suspect a motorist is driving under the influence, or they must have a warrant for arrest. Unfortunately, the police do not always comply with these rules. Law enforcement officers are often overzealous when making an arrest, and arrests are not always legal. In these situations, it is understandable that a person would wonder if they can resist the unlawful arrest.

Even when an arrest is not legal, resisting comes with certain risks. You may face serious penalties, or even sustain an injury as the officer tries to arrest you. No matter the situation, it is important to know what to do when arrested to protect yourself.

What is Resisting Arrest?

In Florida, any time an individual obstructs, resists, or creates a delay for a police officer performing their duty by arresting a person, that individual can be found guilty of resisting arrest. In Florida, the law makes a distinction between resisting arrest with violence, or resisting arrest without violence.

When a person only obstructs, opposes, or resists arrest without uttering threats or causing injury, it is considered resisting arrest without violence. This is considered a first-degree misdemeanor and is the lesser of the two crimes. However, those convicted may still face a fine up to $1,000 or a maximum of one year in prison.

When a person intentionally opposes, resists, or obstructs a police officer making an arrest while uttering threats or using violence, is it considered resisting arrest with violence. This is a felony of the third degree in Florida and anyone convicted of it faces a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to five years in prison.

It is important to note that even when a person is not charged of the crime the officer was arresting them for, they can still be convicted of resisting the arrest if they did not cooperate with the police.

What to Do if You are Unlawfully Arrested

Resisting arrest does come with serious consequences, so it is always advised you remain calm and comply with the police officer any time they try to arrest you. Respectfully ask the officer why they are placing you under arrest and tell them you would like to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. Do not say anything else and tell the officer you will not answer their questions unless your lawyer is present.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Florida Today

Proving that a police officer arrested you unlawfully comes with many challenges, but at O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers can help. We know you have rights and we will work tirelessly to make sure they are upheld so you have the best chance of a positive outcome. If you or someone you love has been unlawfully arrested, call us today at (407) 634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.


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