In Florida, interfering with law enforcement during the execution of a legal duty is considered a crime. Pursuant to Florida Statute 843.02,

Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer … in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The State attorney must prove:

  • The Defendant resisted, obstructed, or opposed the officer;

  • At the time, the officer was engaged in lawful execution of a legal duty;

  • At the time, the officer was authorized to perform that legal duty; and

  • At the time the Defendant knew it was it was an officer.

Resisting arrest without violence (RWOV) is the type of crime that is a catchall, meaning that cops either tack it on to existing charges or use it when they have nothing else to charge the person with. The resistance can be very miniscule and depending on the officer’s attitude and your behavior, the cop will charge you with it.

Examples are:

  • Tensing your arms while being handcuffed;

  • Giving false information;

  • Concealing evidence;

  • Not obeying the officer commands.


Resisting without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable as follows:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail; or

  • 12 months of probation; and

  • $1,000.00 fine

Additionally, depending on the behavior exhibited, a prosecutor can add conditions such as refraining from drinking and random drug and alcohol screens, anger management, and even community service hours.


Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:

  • The officer was not performing a legal duty;

  • The Defendant did not know the person was a cop;

  • Illegal arrest; or

  • Excessive force

Resisting an Officer Without Violence is one of the more common criminal charges because it is so easily experienced criminal attorney such as the team at Wilbur Smith can assist anyone through this difficult time.


Case #: 17MM021401

Charge: Resisting an Officer Without Violence
Disorderly Intoxication

Description: A man called the police concerned when he saw the Defendant with an intoxicated female whom he thought the Defendant was attempting to take advantage of (it was actually the Defendant’s girlfriend). The Defendant was angry that the police were investigating him when he was just taking care of his girlfriend. The Defendant refused to cooperate with law enforcement and began yelling, cursing, and pulling away from officers. When he was placed in the police car the Defendant began banging his head and kicking inside the car and was OC sprayed by officers.

Results: Case Dismissed/Nolle Prossed



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