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The Real Differences Between Resisting With And Resisting Without Violence

Florida - in line with the laws of nearly every other state - makes it a crime to resist an officer who is lawfully executing their legal duties.

However, the law on the books and the law according to the cop arresting you may not be one and the same.

Resisting an officer without violence is subject to interpretation. It is a misdemeanor, as opposed to its felony cousin, resisting an officer with violence.

However, Section 843.02 of the Florida Statutes makes it a crime to "knowingly resist, obstruct, or oppose" a law enforcement officer "in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer."

Section 843.01 of the Florida Statutes makes it a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in state prison, to "knowingly resist, obstruct, or oppose" a law enforcement officer "in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person."

Now resisting with violence can be charged if you offer to do violence to a police officer. On the other hand, an officer can also charge you with resisting without violence for refusing to comply with lawful orders and making verbal threats to the officer.

Conversely, something as harmless as striking an officer with your shoulder while resisting being handcuffed can technically be considered an act of violence, making your charge a felony. Then again, I've seen that same factual scenario lead to a misdemeanor charge.

So what's the real difference between resisting with and resisting without violence? I guess it depends on how upset the cop is.

Some instances of resisting will be more straightforward than others. But at other times, the charge could go either way.