Whenever you encounter law enforcement and they go to arrest you, it is never a good idea to resist them as you can get into more trouble. If you resist arrest with violence, you’ll face even higher penalties.  

Resisting Without Violence

According to Florida Statute 843.02, resisting without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties include up to one year in jail or 12 months probation and a $1,000 fine. 

Examples of Resisting Without Violence

  • Tensing arms when being handcuffed
  • Not obeying verbal commands from law enforcement
  • Refusing to sit down
  • Refusing to be handcuffed or evading handcuffs
  • Giving false or misleading information during arrest
  • Concealing evidence
  • Refusing to leave an area when asked
  • Evading police when there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing
  • Interfering with an active police investigation


Under Florida Law, some defenses to contest a charge of resisting without violence include:

  • Disputed resistance 
  • Uncontrolled reactions (intentional vs. incidental)
    • For example, if you tense your arms due to the pain of being handcuffed, or move your body reflexively due to discomfort or for injury avoidance. 
  • Absence of lawful duty
    • The office must be acting pursuant to their legal duty and do so in a lawful manner. 
  • Illegal arrest or detention
    • This often occurs when law enforcement confronts the suspect without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. 
  • Excessive force
  • Lack of knowledge of the officer’s status
  • Failure to explain the arrest


Resisting Arrest With Violence

In Florida, resisting with violence occurs when you knowingly resist or obstruct police by committing a violent act toward an officer. This is a third-degree felony, punishable by 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.



Under Florida law, some defenses to contest a charge of resisting arrest with violence include:

  • The officer was not engaged in a legal duty
  • Your actions were not willful and knowing but were the result of the officer applying handcuffs
  • You did not know the person you were resisting was a law enforcement officer
  • The arresting officer used excessive force
  • Your actions were not “violent” as outlined in Florida Statute 843.01


Related Charges

If you are arrested for Resisting an Officer with Violence, you may also be charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. This is an equally serious charge as a third-degree felony.


Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were arrested and charged with resisting arrest in Florida with or without violence, contact experienced Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Brandon Gans now for a free case evaluation. With over 10 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and as a former deputy sheriff and state prosecutor, he can put together the best defense for your situation.


Firm Overview

Gans Law offers a variety of services that range from criminal defense to suspended licenses. Here at Gans Law, we understand that sometimes good people find themselves dealing with complex legal matters.

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