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If you have ever been arrested for a crime and taken before a judge, you know that you are attending an arraignment hearing. An arraignment hearing is where you (and your attorney if you have retained one) enter a plea. We have all seen in the movies where the defendant stands up before the Court and pleads ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ for the crime committed. In real life, everyone needs to plea not guilty at this time because if you pled guilty, a judge would sentence you immediately and you may not know what the judge’s sentence will be. At a later time, after the evidence is reviewed, you may choose to change your plea to nolo contendere (no contest) or guilty. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss what happens when you plead guilty or nolo contendere. Additionally, we will explain how a nolle prosequi could affect your status.

1) Pleading Guilty

This option is fairly obvious. When pleading guilty to the crime you are being charged, you are admitting that you committed the crime. Often times, a guilty plea comes about when the prosecution offers a plea deal for a better sentence if you plead guilty to the charges. Remember from the above paragraph you do not plead guilty at arraignment and you should have the evidence reviewed prior to changing your plea to guilty.

An officer walks up to you and tells you she has reasonable belief that you have drugs on your person. You allow her to search your pockets and she comes up with cocaine. She places you in handcuffs but when she asks you to sit on the sidewalk while she calls another officer, you refuse. She tells you again to sit on the sidewalk and you once again refuse. Regardless of your intentions on why you do not want to sit on the sidewalk, the officer charges you with possession of cocaine and resisting arrest without violence.

Law enforcement officers have protections strictly enforced regarding how individuals will react when getting arrested. Because officers are placed in unknown danger when arresting an individual, not knowing how a person will respond when stopped, questioned, or place in handcuffs, Florida created Statutes 843.01 and 843.02 to provide definitions and legal convictions should you be charged with resisting arrest without violence or with violence.

Under Florida Statute 843.02, resisting an officer without violence examples include: not obeying commands, refusing to be placed in handcuffs, refusing to sit on the ground when asked, or trying to escape being arrested. Even verbal actions, such as warning another person so they are not arrested is considered grounds for charging you with resisting arrest. If charged with resisting without violence, that constitutes a 1st degree misdemeanor, resulting in jail time or probation for up to 1 year and a fine up to $1,000.00.

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