Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of Justice crimes include offenses such as resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence, tampering with evidence, tampering with a witness, false report of a crime, perjury, accessory after the fact, and other offenses involving somehow impeding the criminal justice system. Many good people are accused of obstruction crimes when they believe their rights are being violated and they resist law enforcement. If you have an obstruction case, give us a call to discuss your rights.
Don’t I have a constitutional right to oppose a police officer?
Yes and no. We all have constitutional rights, but they are not absolute and they are subject to the interpretation of the police officer, which is subject to review by the trial court and a jury, who is subject to review by the appellate courts. For example, you do have a constitutional right to engage in free speech. However, the courts have limited that constitutional right. For example, you cannot yell, “Fire,” in a crowded theater.
So how does this apply to resisting an officer without violence? If a police officer is in the lawful execution of his or her duties and you obstruct that officer in the execution of that duty, you could be convicted of resisting an officer. However, the State must prove that you opposed the officer and that the officer was engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty.
A common example we see is where police officers are arresting a person and a friend or family member attempts to talk to the officer and convince the officer not arrest the person. Another common occurrence is when an officer tells a person or crowd of people to leave an area and the person refuses. It will always be an issue whether the officer was acting in the lawful execution of a legal duty and whether the person actually resisted or obstructed the officer.
If you have been charged with Resisting an Officer Without Violence, give us a call to discuss the legality of the officer’s actions and what defenses are available to you.
What is the difference between Resisting an Officer with Violence and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer?
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer is a simply the unwanted touching or striking of a law enforcement officer. Resisting an Officer with Violence is opposing an officer by offering violence. A common Resisting an Officer with Violence case involves a person kicking at an officer while being handcuffed. An officer can charge both Resisting with Violence and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer if the elements of both offenses are present. Read more about each specific offense by clicking on Resisting an Officer with Violence below, or Assault or Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer under the Violent Offenses tab.
What if I helped someone who committed a crime?
This is commonly referred to as Accessory After the Fact. It is a separate crime to help someone avoid arrest on a felony offense. This can be by letting a person who is wanted on a felony offense stay with you to hide from the police, or by hiding evidence of a felony offense for that person, or any other aid that you may give to help a person avoid detection, arrest, or punishment.
You cannot be charged with accessory after the fact if you were helping your husband, wife, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
Click on a link below to learn about the different obstruction statutes in the State of Florida, some common defenses to those crimes and other information.