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Daytona Beach Lawyers Explain How to Fight Charges of Obstructing Justice

Daytona Beach Lawyers Explain How to Fight Charges of Obstructing Justice

Obstructing justice charges can carry serious penalties in Florida, including hefty fines and jail time. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side if you’re facing these allegations. As Daytona Beach lawyers, we often defend clients against obstructing justice and want to explain some effective strategies.

What Does Obstructing Justice Mean in Florida?

Florida statute 843.02 prohibits obstructing or opposing an officer, generally known as “obstructing justice.” This charge applies when someone:

  • Resists an officer with violence
  • Resists an officer without violence
  • Obstructs or opposes an officer in executing legal process or in lawfully executing a legal duty

You can face obstructing charges even if you didn’t directly interact with police. For example, hiding evidence of a crime or encouraging a witness to lie could lead prosecutors to charge you.

Obstructing an officer with violence is a felony offense in Florida. The maximum penalties are 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Obstructing without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Common Defenses Against Obstruction Charges

The exact circumstances surrounding your case will determine the best defense. But generally, our Daytona Beach criminal defense attorneys look for ways to show:

You didn’t actually obstruct officers

Mere words alone typically don’t constitute obstruction. Even arguing with police or cursing at them is not enough. There usually needs to be some physical action preventing officers from doing their jobs.

We’ll review police reports to see if there’s evidence you actively interfered. For example, did you barricade a door, lock your arms to prevent arrest, destroy evidence, or take other disruptive actions? If not, we can argue you did not actually obstruct.

Police acted unlawfully

You have a legal right to defend yourself against unlawful police conduct. If officers entered your home illegally or used excessive force during an arrest, any resistance on your part could be justified.

We’ll investigate the legality of police actions leading up to your arrest. Evidence of misconduct provides strong grounds for beating obstruction charges.

Mistaken identity

In some cases, police mistakenly identify the wrong person as the one obstructing their duties. They may have been focused on controlling a chaotic scene and didn’t clearly witness your role.

If we can show you were misidentified, mistaken identity can serve as a solid defense. Witness statements and video evidence are crucial here.

Mental health issues

Struggling with mental illness can impact your interactions with police. You may have panicked during arrest because of severe anxiety or been unable to follow commands due to schizophrenia.

We can argue you lacked criminal intent due to mental health problems. Getting a psychiatric evaluation can help demonstrate you were incapable of purposeful obstruction.

What to Do If Facing Obstruction Charges

Here are some tips if you’ve been arrested for obstructing justice:

  • Remain silent and only speak to your Daytona Beach criminal defense lawyer. Anything you say to police can be used against you.
  • Be polite and compliant during the arrest process. Don’t give officers anything else to use against you.
  • Get medical attention if injured during the incident. This creates a record of physical harm you experienced.
  • Write down all the details you remember about the arrest. This helps your lawyer reconstruct what happened.
  • Avoid discussing the incident on social media or with anyone other than your attorney.
  • Hire a skilled obstruction defense lawyer right away. An experienced attorney can start working on your case immediately.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to fight the charges at trial or try to plea bargain. They’ll guide you on the best legal strategy.

The obstruction charges against you likely seem daunting. But an assertive legal defense can expose flaws in the prosecution’s case and get charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of the police and courts. Contact our Daytona Beach criminal defense firm to schedule a free case review now.

About the Author

John Smith is an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Daytona Beach. He earned his law degree from the University of Florida and has successfully defended clients against all types of criminal charges. John believes every client deserves strong advocacy. He works closely with clients to build an effective defense drawing on his knowledge of Florida courts and criminal statutes.

In his free time, John enjoys fishing Daytona Beach and coaching Little League baseball. He and his wife are active volunteers with several local charities.

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