Florida Law extensively criminalizes the disruption of law enforcement arrests and investigations. Purportedly for the safety of the public as well as
the swift administration of justice, police officers have a large statutory menu of violations from which to choose should a suspect, witness, or onlooker impede law enforcement activity. For someone who is in the process of getting arrested for an unrelated offense, these additional charges can represent the cherry on top of an already-unpleasant situation.
Read on to learn about the three most common extra charges that arise during an arrest, and related Q&As.
Failure to accept or sign summons
1. Can I refuse to sign a traffic ticket?
If you are charged with a criminal traffic violation or any violation that calls for a mandatory hearing, you MUST sign and accept the citation as a promise to appear in court. This is true even if you believe you were wrongfully arrested or accused.
2.What happens if I don’t sign a traffic citation?
You may be furious that you were unjustly charged with an offense; or, you
may incorrectly believe that your signature in and of itself is an admission of guilt (It is not). Whether the police got it right or wrong, you must sign the citation and battle it out later in court. Failure to sign or accept a citation is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by sixty days in jail as outlined in Florida Statute section 318.14.
3. What should I do if I am asked to sign a citation?
Sign the citation and avoid an additional criminal charge. Rest assured that
your signature does not mean you agree with the charges or that you have
admitted culpability. As soon as you can, hire an experienced criminal traffic lawyer to fight your case.
4. What should I do if I am already charged with Failure to Accept or Sign Summons?
If you have been charged with Failure to Accept or Sign Summons, contact
an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. A lawyer
experienced in criminal law will know how to fight against your charges.
1. Can I get in trouble for giving a false name?
When nerves get the best of you, your instinct for self-preservation may kick into high gear. With fear and adrenaline taking over, you may blurt out
incorrect information to law enforcement – including a false name. Whether the police heard incorrectly, you made an honest mistake, or you were trying to avoid detection, providing a false name is an accusation that can land you in jail for a year. Giving a false name or identification is a first degree misdemeanor according to Florida Statute 901.36. In some instances – where the false information “adversely affected” another person – it can even be a felony.
2. Will I get in trouble for giving police my real name?
You may already be under arrest or investigation for an unrelated offense,
and it is unlikely that providing your correct name will make matters worse. What will certainly worsen the situation is providing a false name.
3. What happens if I am charged with giving a false name?
If you are charged with giving a false name along with any other criminal
offense, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal lawyer will know what defenses are available and can improve your chances of a successful outcome. Don’t assume that you are doomed just from the facts. A criminal defense lawyer will apply her knowledge of the law and procedure to your benefit.
Resisting With or Without Violence
1. Can I resist arrest if the arrest is unlawful?
Believe it or not, you CAN resist a law enforcement officer if he or she is not
in the lawful execution of a legal duty, as long as the act of resisting,
obstructing, or opposing is not violent or in violation of any other laws.
However, in most cases, it is not difficult for police to articulate a “lawful
duty” that would be legally sufficient for the arrest or investigation at hand.
Be careful; if the judge disagrees with your assessment on the lawfulness of
the officer’s actions, you’re stuck with a charge of Resisting Without
Violence, punishable by a year in jail pursuant to Florida Statute 843.02.
What is never acceptable in the eyes of the law is to resist WITH violence.
Regardless of the lawfulness of the arrest or investigation, Resisting With
Violence is a third degree felony punishable by 5 years in prison. The law on Resisting With Violence is found in Florida Statute 843.01.
2. Can I be charged with Resisting even if it doesn’t involve an arrest?
The resisting statutes contemplate scenarios broader than resisting arrest.
You can be charged with Resisting with or without violence for impeding a
police investigation or otherwise not following lawful commands in the
course of an investigation. The law includes the words “resists,” “obstructs,”
and “opposes” for the purpose of including all offenses that may compromise police action.
3. What happens if I am charged with Resisting?
If you are charged with Resisting a law enforcement officer, contact a
criminal defense attorney for representation. A defense lawyer versed in
criminal law can accurately assess whether the police were in the lawful
execution of a legal duty, whether you really resisted, and whether the police officers identified themselves as law enforcement in the course of the
CALL US FOR YOUR DEFENSE
Beyond the three charges listed above, a myriad of other extra charges exist
that bolster law enforcement’s power to arrest and investigate. A couple of
other common ones include Failure to Obey a Lawful Order, 316.072(3) and
Fleeing to Elude, 316.1935. Regardless of the criminal charge, our Lake Worth criminal defense law firm is ready to help. Contact Casanova Law today for experienced and passionate defense. Our founding attorney is a former prosecutor for Palm Beach County with extensive criminal litigation experience.