Resisting Arrest Without Violence Attorney in Miami, FL

If you or a loved one has been arrested by a law enforcement officer for resisting without violence, it is critical to consult with an experienced resisting arrest without violence attorney in Miami as soon as possible. You need to ensure that your rights are protected and do everything you can to avoid a criminal conviction. You need the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend you against your criminal charges and maximize your chances of coming out of your case without a criminal record.

What is Resisting an Officer without Violence?

Resisting an officer without violence (also known as obstructing justice) is an extremely common misdemeanor charge that police officers often use to demonstrate their authority and/or gain control over a situation. Police officers often time use a disorderly conduct charge in a similar way. Many people arrested for resisting an officer without violence feel that they have done nothing wrong and have difficulty understanding why they were arrested. It is not uncommon for a person arrested for resisting an arrest without violence to say that they were just asking the officer a question and were then put under arrest (a related but different charge is the felony offense of resisting an officer with violence). An experienced criminal defense attorney from our firm will strive to minimize the effects and ramifications of a resisting without violence charge to allow you to put the case behind you and move on with your professional and personal lives.

What are the Elements of Resisting without Violence?

Florida Statute 843.02 defines the criminal offense of resisting without violence. To prove the crime, the prosecutor must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant resisted/obstructed/opposed a law enforcement officer.
  2. At the time, the officer was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty.
  3. The defendant knew that the person in question was a law enforcement officer.

Under Florida law, a defendant can commit only one count of resisting without violence even if several officers are involved in the same event. See Wallace v. State, 724 So. 2d 1176 (Fla. 1998)

Who is Considered an Officer?

In addition to police officers, the definition includes:

  • a member, administrative aide, or supervisor of the Florida Commission on Offender Review
  • a county probation officer;
  • a parole and probation supervisor;
  • an employee or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or
  • other persons legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty.


The element of “resisting” can include many types of conduct, including:

  • Disobeying a lawful verbal command;
  • Acting as a lookout to prevent a police arrest or interfering with active police investigations;
  • Tensing arms, pulling away, running away;
  • Refusing to either sit down or follow a similar reasonable command;
  • Hiding or concealing evidence;
  • Resisting or avoiding being handcuffed;
  • Giving misleading or inaccurate information to an officer; and,
  • Refusing to leave a specific area after being ordered to.

Under the First Amendment, words alone are not sufficient to constitute resistance. There are some circumstances, however, where words can satisfy the “resisting” element. For example,  you are not allowed to give a police officer a false name after being lawfully arrested. Additionally, if you warn a suspect about the police in order to prevent them from being caught, you won’t be protected by the First Amendment. It is extremely important that the criminal attorney you choose to defend you against resisting arrest charges has a thorough knowledge of this area of the law.

Lawful Execution of a Legal Duty

Regardless of whether the defendant “resists”, the officer must be lawfully executing a legal duty at the time the defendant resisted them. If they aren’t, then it is not a crime. For example, a defendant who gives false or misleading information to a police officer during a voluntary interaction with the officer (consensual encounter). Another example is a defendant resisting an unlawful arrest or detention. Just because an officer is wearing a uniform and is on the job does not mean they are in the execution of a lawful duty.

There are only three scenarios where an officer is considered to be in the “lawful execution of a legal duty:

  1. the officer is serving legal process;
  2. the officer is legally detaining someone; or
  3. the officer is requesting assistance from a person with an ongoing emergency.

Penalties for Resisting Officer without Violence

Under Florida law, resisting an officer without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. If you are convicted, you could face a fine, up to one year of probation, and up to one year in jail.

Contact an Experienced Miami Resisting an Officer without Violence Attorney

Our law firm has significant experience in defending resisting charges and has represented numerous clients charged with this offense. If you or a loved one has been arrested and is facing criminal charges, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami resisting without violence lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. You need the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.

Over the years, we have represented thousands of clients in a wide range of cases in Miami-Dade County. There is a good chance that we have dealt with your type of case and that our criminal lawyers have represented clients who shared similar needs and concerns that you may have. Feel free to browse through the results section of our site for a representative sample of some of our past cases and the results we have achieved for our clients.

By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced resisting without violence attorney to defend yourself, you are minimizing the chances that your criminal case will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.

CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.


*Due to the large number of people who contact us requesting our assistance, it is strongly suggested that you take the time to provide us with specific details regarding your case by filling out our confidential and secure intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry in a timely and appropriate manner.


The material on this page represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult a criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.