What Are Unlawful Arrests, and How Should They Be Handled?
It's unfortunate, but law enforcement officers at all levels sometimes use excessive force or arrest individuals unlawfully. People who feel or know that they are being arrested without cause often immediately become angry, resistant, or even combative. Here are a few examples of unlawful arrests, as well as tips for those being arrested illegally.
What Are Unlawful Arrests?
Law enforcement officers are human beings, which means they sometimes make mistakes or act irrationally on the job. In the absence of an arrest warrant, officers must make arrests only when they have enough probable cause that illegal activity has occurred. Mistaking innocent individuals as wanted suspects does happen, and officers also sometimes make arrests as the result of illegal stops and searches, or due to constitutionally protected free speech acts such as protesting or insulting law enforcement. While many of these kinds of arrests are unlawful, resistance is never a good idea.
Avoid Resisting at All Costs
Whether someone is guilty or innocent of a crime, resisting arrest is always a bad idea, especially if it turns violent. If a law enforcement officer is behaving unlawfully or is in some way violating a person's constitutional rights, there will be plenty of time to evaluate the situation later in court. Resisting arrest in the moment can only cause further problems for the person under arrest, from accruing additional criminal charges to being hurt or even killed in a violent scuffle. During both legal and illegal arrests, it's critical to remain calm, respectful, and compliant.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Florida
In Florida, there are legal distinctions between resisting arrest with violence versus resisting without violence, though both come with stiff penalties. If an officer can prove that someone resisted arrest with violence, it's considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Without violence, resisting is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
If you believe you or a loved one have been unlawfully arrested, it is crucial to contact a criminal defense lawyer. If the arrest is within the law and you wish to post bail, contact Liberty Bail Bonds Nassau. We are prepared to help clients through every step of the bail bond process.