Resisting Officer without Violence in Florida

The charge of Resisting Officer without Violence imposes heightened penalties on civilians who passively resist, obstruct, or oppose officers carrying out their public duties.

If accused of Resisting an Officer without Violence, you need to know the:

Definition of Resisting Officer without Violence

Under Florida Statute 843.02, the crime of Resisting Officer without Violence is committed when a person:

  1. Knowingly and willfuly resists, obstructs, or opposes a law enforcement officer engaged in the:
    • Execution of legal process, or
    • Lawful execution of a legal duty.

Law Enforcement Officer

The term law enforcement officer includes a police officer, deputy sheriff, correctional officer, probation officer, or a person legally authorized to execute process (i.e. subpoenas or warrants).

Penalties for Resisting Officer without Violence

The crime of Resisting an Officer without Violence is classified as a First Degree Misdemeanor in Florida.

If convicted of Resisting Officer without Violence, a judge can impose any of the following penalties:

  • A maximum sentence of one (1) year in jail, and
  • A minimum sentence of probation or a fine.

Defenses to Resisting Officer without Violence

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Resisting Officer without Violence are:

  1. Excessive force;
  2. Officer's Status Unknown
  3. Protected Speech;
  4. Unlawful Arrest;

Excessive Force

A person is justified in the use of reasonable force to defend one's self against an officer who uses excessive force to make an arrest or engages in police brutality. [1]

However, a person can only engage in self defense to the extent reasonably believed to be necessary. And the determination of whether the self defense was justified is based upon the circumstances at the time.

Additionally, the danger of excessive force or police brutality need not have been actual to justify a self-defense claim. In such instances, you are allowed to defend yourself if the appearance of excessive force or police brutality appeared to be imminent.

Officer's Status Unknown

While a person is not justified in using force to resist a police officer who is "known, or reasonably appears to be a law enforcement officer." A person accused of Resisting Officer without Violence must have reason to know that the "victim" was actually an officer and not someone impersonating an officer. [2]

Protected Speech

A person's words alone will rarely, if ever, rise to the level of Resisting Officer without Violence. Rather the words must usually be accompanied by obstructive physical conduct to support a conviction for Resisting Officer without Violence. [3]

Unlawful Arrest

It is legal to passively resist an unlawful arrest, detention, or investigation. And the burden of demonstrating that the arrest was lawful falls upon the State.

Lawful Arrest

A lawful arrest is an arrest that is supported by probable cause. Probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within the officer’s knowledge are reasonable trustworthy and sufficient to warrant a reasonably cautious belief that an offense has been committed.

Lawful Investigation

A lawful investigation requires that the investigating officer have an articulable, reasonable suspicion that a person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime before detaining the person to investigate the crime.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Resisting Officer without Violence in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.


  1. Wright v. State, 705 So. 2d 102, 2014 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998)
  2. Polite v. State, 973 So. 2d 1107 (Fla. 2007)
  3. DG v. State, 661 So. 2d 75 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995)