Resisting Arrest and Florida Law - Can I Face Charges for Resisting Arrest?


It is essential to know your rights if you are ever in the situation of being arrested. Police are allowed to use reasonable force when making an arrest. However, it is illegal for police to use excessive force, which infringes on the civil rights of the arrestee.

Under Florida law, police officers are justified to use any force they believe is necessary to defend themselves from harm. Florida separates resisting into two categories; resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence.

Resisting Arrest With Violence

Resisting an officer with violence is considered to be a third-degree felony and carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. When a person knowingly and willingly obstructs, opposes, or resists an officer with threats and violence.

Resisting an Arrest Includes:

  • Running away, hiding, or struggling with an officer.
  • Presenting a fake ID or giving false information.
  • Trying to help someone avoid arrest.
  • Threatening an officer.

Resisting Arrest Without Violence

Resisting an officer without violence is considered to be a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to one-year imprisonment and up to $1,000 in fines. It is illegal to resist, oppose, or obstruct an officer without violence or the threat of violence in Florida. The statute concerning resisting arrest without violence does not include the words "knowingly and willfully," which is an important distinction.

Defenses Against Resisting Arrest

  • Unlawful Arrest: If the arrest was not lawful, to begin with, you cannot be charged with resisting arrest.
  • Self-defense: If an officer used excessive force against you, you have the right to defend yourself against police misconduct. If the officer's use of force was in response to forceful resistance from you, you lose your self-defense claim.
  • False allegations: If you were rude, and the officer decided to retaliate by filing resisting arrest charges.
  • An officer did not identify themselves: If an officer was not acting in good faith, did not identify themselves or appear to be an officer, it may serve as a defense to a charge of resisting arrest.

Ronald Chapman

If you're facing an arrest, know your rights as well as the authority of the police under Florida law. Even if your arrest is unlawful, you could still face resisting arrest charges. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Ronald Chapman today if you resisted arrest. Ronald Chapman is an experienced defense attorney who can help.

Criminal Defense Attorney West Palm Beach

Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help.

Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website. Visit us at You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.


Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401


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