West palm beach, fl - Se habla espanol

Your Rights When Resisting Arrest in Florida

When an officer confronts you, regardless of the situation or how innocent you are of any wrongdoing, you will likely feel intimated, nervous and uncertain as to how to react.  Further, when an officer is trying to arrest you for a crime that you did not commit, your understandable anger may reasonably motivate you to resist the officer.But, if you act on these feelings by resisting the officer’s commands, you may find yourself in even more trouble – and you might be charged with additional crimes.This doesn’t necessarily mean that those charges will lead to convictions, however. Police officers are required to follow the law and honor your Constitutional rights, and in some circumstances resistance is legally justifiable.Let’s look at some of those situations in more detail.Resisting Unlawful Arrest or Not Complying With an Officer’s Command. If an officer is attempting to arrest you under unlawful circumstances, you have the constitutional right to resist the arrest. But what exactly is an “unlawful arrest?”An arrest is not unlawful merely because the office does not have strong or sufficient evidence that you committed the alleged crime.  The officer needs “probable cause” to lawfully arrest.  But that standard is much lower that “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard by which jurors view evidence during a trial.In general terms, an unlawful arrest is one in which the officer in question was acting outside the scope of his or her legal authority. For example, if you merely insult an officer, which is not in and of itself a crime, and the officer reacts by attempting to arrest you, that would be an unlawful arrest.  You would be justified in resisting the arrest, as long as you do not use violence in doing so.Similarly, you would not be required under the law to obey an officer’s unlawful order.   An example of that would be when you are innocently minding your own business when the officer, without having any reasonable suspicion that you are committing or have committed a crime, commands you to do something, such as to show him or her what is in your pocket.  You needn’t comply with that order.Resisting a Lawful Arrest.

West Palm Beach Resisting Arrest Defense Lawyer

If the officer is acting within his or her authority and has a probable cause to arrest you, resistance is not allowed. You would then have to cooperate with the lawful orders of the officer. If you resist arrest in that context, you would be illegally  interfering with their “lawful duty.”That being said, there are still defenses that you can use to get your charges reduced or dropped, or to be found not guilty at trial, some examples of which would be:

  • You did not actually resist
  • You resisted an unlawful order
  • You did not know that the officer was an officer at the time

The best way to know which strategy is appropriate for your case is to discuss the specific details with a knowledgeable resisting arrest lawyer.

Charges and Penalties for Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest without violence is a misdemeanor.  Resisting arrest with violence, though, is a felony. If you are found guilty of resisting arrest without violence in Florida, you face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. And since this charge is often associated with other criminal charges, the penalties for resisting arrest will be added to whatever penalties you might face for those alleged crimes.Guilt as to resisting arrest with violence, as a third degree felony, is punishable by up to 5 years in the state prison system.  Very importantly, most of the defenses available to you in the misdemeanor context are not available when the charge is a felony.  In other words, even though an officer may be exceeding his or her authority, there is no legal right to violently resisting an officer.Only a Florida criminal attorney with a track record of success handling this type of charge gives you the best chance at a positive outcome. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, contact an area defense lawyer today.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.

Free case review

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


Better call Saul? More like, BETTER CALL OLSON!

“David W. Olson is the best lawyer I have come across. He truly will sit and listen to your story and no matter what he will fight for your rights. He is very compassionate, and understanding. He will work with you and does his job with a good heart. Mr. Olson truly has saved my life and gave me a second chance. You wont go wrong with hiring David Olson as your attorney. I highly recommend him and I am proud to have chosen him as my attorney.”


Found the Best!

“David Olson has represented me on two occasions. I have since referred two of my friends and my nephew to him, and they have all told me they’ll always be grateful for that. Mr. Olson somehow had the charges dropped in both of my cases (actually, I do know how, because he and his staff answered all my questions and explained in detail things that I never would have thought of).”


Compassionate Attorney

"My husband and I hired Mr. Olson to represent our son a Florida gun shot victim. We are New Jersey residents. From day one we felt comfortable with Mr. Olson and found him to be easy to talk to and a very good listener. This was important to us after our horrible experience with another attorney who was more concerned with hearing himself speak than our wishes."


Personable and Highly Intelligent!

“I saw David today to discuss some possible outcomes and possibilities of a probable future case. I did not know if I was going to be charged at all but I wanted to speak to someone to get a better idea of what I was looking at and what my options were. As soon as I shook his hand I felt very comfortable and respected. I laid it all out for him and asked him every last question I had, all of which were answered respectfully and intelligently.”


The Best of the Best

"I have known David Olson for over 20 yrs. now and have had my rough times in my past and unfortunately I ended up in trouble with the law and really needed help from a real lawyer. I needed someone to listen to my side of the story and really fight my cases in court for me and get the BEST results for my cases. A very close friend said the man for the job is David W Olson; So I contacted him & he came to me the very next day to hear me out and I knew he was the lawyer that would do the best for me and he did.”

Chet B.

Hearty Recommendation

"I hired Mr. Olson from recommendation by family member. He was immediately behind my situation and put me completely at ease. There were no false promises, very upfront as far as expectations and outcomes.

His assistant, Jessica was a joy to work with as well. They came to my house, interviewed witnesses, went above and beyond and always respond to my calls. I totally endorse this attorney."