Resisting Officer with Violence in Tampa, FL
Florida imposes substantial penalties on people who resist arrest, but the penalties for those who do so violently are especially harsh. Even where no injury occurs, police use this felony charge as a means to maintain authority, and state attorneys typically prosecute vigorously. If you have been charged with resisting an officer with violence, also known as resisting arrest with violence, it is imperative to obtain qualified legal representation before speaking to police or prosecutors any further.
If you or a loved one are facing resisting officer with violence charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa resisting officer with violence criminal defense lawyer, today.
Resisting Officer with Violence: Definition in Tampa, FL
It is a crime in Florida to knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct or oppose a law enforcement officer in the course of his duties by using or threatening violence against him. The law enforcement officers covered by this crime include police, corrections and probation officers; members and employees of the Florida Parole Commission; parole and probation supervisors; and other people authorized to execute legal processes such as summonses. Resisting an officer with violence is a third-degree felony in Florida and carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison. By itself, a conviction for resisting an officer with violence carries no mandatory minimum sentence. But given the likelihood of companion charges (for whatever alleged crimes led to arrest) and the possibility of injuries to law enforcement officers, minimum sentences may be imposed in some cases.
Resisting Officer with Violence: Elements in Tampa, FL
Prosecutors must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to win a conviction for resisting an officer with violence. First, a prosecutor must establish a defendant knowingly and willfully resisted an officer by threatening or engaging in violence. This requires proof that the defendant knew the officer was an officer. Second, the prosecutor must establish the officer was executing process (delivering a summons, for example) or carrying out another legal duty at the time. Finally, the prosecutor must establish the officer was a police officer; corrections officer; probation officer or supervisor; parole commissioner, supervisor or employee; or other person legally authorized to execute process.
Resisting Officer with Violence: Defenses in Tampa, FL
It is not a defense to resisting an officer with violence charges that the arrest in question was illegal or improper. If an officer used excessive force in making an arrest, however, an argument of self defense my stand — but only if the force was excessive. This defense requires only that a defendant reasonably believed the threat of excessive force was imminent, not that it actually was imminent. But the belief must have been reasonable, and this determination is left to a judge or jury, not the defendant. It is also a defense to resisting a officer with violence that a defendant did not know an officer was an officer. Another line of defense may argue that the officer in question was not performing a legal duty at the time of the resistance. This may happen, for example, with a police officer working off-duty as a bouncer at a night club — unless the officer assumes the legal duties of a police officer by breaking up a fight or detaining a drunk driver, for example, in which case he is an officer performing his legal duties.