What is Resisting Arrest?
If you do not follow police directions when they are trying to arrest you, you may be charged with resisting arrest. You need skilled representation to fight resisting charges, as well as any other charges that may be filed. Our lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, have more than 60 years of combined experience handling all types of resisting cases.
What Is Resisting Arrest?
When you hear the word resisting, what does that mean? Examples of resisting can be:
- Refusal to sign a citation
- Refusal to put your hands behind your back
- Not listening to the law enforcement instructions to exit a roadway, exit your vehicle or exit your home
Resisting can mean a lot of things. In fact, the word resisting is up to what the police officer wants it to be. A case occurred in Orlando where a guy was having a fight with his girlfriend, and he got aggravated and started running in and out of traffic. The police told him to get out of the street so he wouldn’t hurt himself or interfere with traffic. He refused, and sat down in the middle of the street. He was a danger to himself and to other people, so the cops arrested him.
Police are very sensitive about the breach of space between a suspect and the police because of a number of violent situations that have occurred in Florida over the years. They have developed what is called a “zero tolerance policy.” What that means for you is that if you get pulled over by the police and you lay even a finger on the police, even touch the officer’s weapon by accident, or touch the officer citation book, or touch the officer on the arm, you could be arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer.
- The difference between a simple battery on an individual and a battery on a law enforcement officer is that battery on the individual is a misdemeanor and a felony if it’s a police officer. In fact, battery on a law enforcement officer encompasses much more than just police. The legislation expanded to include prosecutors, firemen and even security guards to receive the same benefit.
Resisting arrest charges, whether with violence or without violence, are often tied into other crimes committed. It isn’t that rare to see officers telling an individual to come with them during a drug, theft, DUI, or other criminal matter and in one moment of hesitation, the resisting arrest charge is tacked on.
Resolving Your Resisting Arrest Charge
Imagine that you were arrested for resisting arrest without violence for something silly, like refusing to get out of your car, or getting out of the street, and the police officer was just irritated that day and was quick to “jump the gun” and arrest you for a crime. You may very well want to fight the case against the police officer, and you may very well want to pursue a civil action against the police department and the officer for violating your civil rights. It’s a hard call, though, because in many cases, if you’re a first offender, the state will offer you a guaranteed program where you know that as long as you complete the program requirements, the government will drop the charges against you.
Imagine being in that dilemma where you’re faced with an arrest that should never have happened, and you know that you did nothing wrong, but the government on the other hand doesn’t know that. It offers you a program where, if you just complete it and write a letter of apology to a police officer, the case will get dropped. To be frank, most of the clients, when they’re given that burden in hand, when they’re given that guaranteed result, often don’t go to trial, and they suck it up, do the program, and get the charges dropped.
- A common question after that scenario happens is can the individual still pursue a civil action against the police? The answer is yes. He or she still has the legal ability to pursue law enforcement for illegal arrest, but has to be careful here, because, in many cases, when he or she does that diversion program, one of the requirements will be a letter of apology, and he or she will have to do that letter of apology to get in and complete the program. In that letter of apology, if he or she admits to any wrongdoing on his or her part, or that the police did nothing wrong, that letter can be used against him or her in a later civil action against the police and he or she is offered the pretrial diversion. Be very careful about what you put in that letter of apology to police.
- In many cases, resisting arrest without violence cases go to trial. The reason they go to trial is because there is sometimes a misunderstanding between the police officer and the person who got charged with the crime. Unfortunately, for the criminal defendant, the police officer is in a position where he or she has the power and the authority to make an arrest. In those cases where that misunderstanding lies between the police officer and the criminal defendant, sometimes a jury then can make up their mind as to where that misunderstanding lay and who is responsible for it.
- Often, if they feel that the police officer was the one who brought it upon him or herself, they’ll find the defendant not guilty. On the other hand, if they find that the criminal defendant, was the one who initiated the problem, then they’ll find the defendant guilty. Explaining the defendant’s situation is also helpful when explaining to the judge why our client has been repeatedly arrested for the same offense — judges and prosecutors have little patience for someone who has been arrested, and they have less patience for someone who has been arrested for the same type of behavior. It’s important for lawyers then to humanize their clients, especially clients who don’t want to go to trial and would like to resolve their case without trial.
Let Us Help You With Your Resisting Arrest And Other Criminal Charges
If you’re facing charges related to drinking, and would like to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orlando regarding your charges, contact The Umansky Law Firm online or call us at 407-228-3838.