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Resisting with violence

Resisting an Officer with Violence in Florida

The state of Florida has stringent provisions to prosecute individuals who have engaged in physical obstruction of law enforcement members and has heightened penalty provisions for civilians who obstruct law enforcement staff as they carry out their duties.

Unlike Resisting an Officer Without Violence, the argument that the arrest was an unlawful one is not material in this case.


Florida Statute §843.01, states that this offense is deemed to have been committed when an individual willfully and knowingly opposes, obstructs, or resists law enforcement officers by using violence against or threatening violence against law enforcement officers who were executing their legal duties lawfully.

Law Enforcement Officers

This term includes a probation officer, correctional officer, deputy sheriff, police officer, or an individual with the legal authority to execute legal process like warrants or subpoenas.

Applicable Penalties

This offense is A Felony of the Third Degree in Florida. The court may impose any of these following penalties in any combination:

Fine not exceeding $5000

Probation Period not exceeding 5 years

Imprisonment sentence not exceeding 5 years 

Applicable Specific Defenses

There are three defenses that are specific to the charge of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer:

Unknown Status

Self Defense

On the Job

Excessive Force 

Unknown Status

Although individuals are not permitted to use force against police officers who are known to be or appear to be law enforcement officers, people charged with Battery on Law Enforcement Individuals must have been aware that their victim was an actual police officer. The charge cannot be proved if they believed that they were resisting someone who was impersonating law enforcement officers.

Excessive Force

When officers utilize excessive force to arrest an individual, the person is allowed to use a reasonable amount of force for defending themselves.

In addition, it is not necessary that there be actual danger of any police brutality or excessive force for justifying self-defense claims. In all such cases, individuals are permitted to use reasonable force if police brutality or excessive usage of force appears imminent.

But individuals can use force to a reasonable extent only if they have enough proof to believe the necessity of such force. Determining whether violent resistance was justified or not will be dependent upon the prevailing circumstances. 

Self Defense

Using violent methods against law enforcement officers who are arresting an individual is unlawful, even when the arrest may not be legal. Apart from this exception, individuals are authorized to use force within reason for defending themselves against unlawful actions taken against them by a law enforcement officer.

Examples where this is applicable include:

Unlawful detainment of a person

Unlawfully frisking someone

Unlawful entry into private property

Even if the officer is found to be engaging in unlawful activities, any person who utilizes violent methods against the officer is doing so at their own risk. 

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Larry Avallone.

If you've been charged or arrested in the Daytona Beach area, contact Larry Avallone, who is an expert Criminal Defense Lawyer in Volusia County. My initial consultation is completely free. I am ready to provide legal advice regarding the next steps in your case.