Articles Posted in Resisting Charges in Northeast Florida

More than 60 Jacksonville police officers were called to quell a massive fight and melee on Christmas night and a handful of teens and young adults are now facing Duval County criminal charges. So far, five people have been arrested on Jacksonville Misdemeanors Crimes charges – all for fighting, resisting arrest or some combination of the two, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The incident started when a group of teens and young adults rushed a police officer to try to force their way into the movie theater and the officer used pepper spray to fight them off, the newspaper reported. The group ran and the officer called for backup, but by the time help arrived there was a mass of people in the parking lot and 50 or so people involved in separate fights, the newspaper reported.

All five of the people, including two juveniles, arrested for Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes were arrested at the scene that evening, according to the newspaper report. In each of the arrests, the suspect did not comply with police orders to leave and in some cases police said the defendant pulled away or even took a fighting stance with the officer and had to be restrained by police, the newspaper reported. Shortly after the incident, there had been no word of arrests for the people who rushed the theater and triggered the whole incident. Some have questioned why those people and others fighting in the parking lot, especially when there is cell phone video of the incidents, have not been charged. But proving charges beyond a reasonable doubt with video alone is difficult. There were similar issues over a Memorial Day brawl at Jacksonville Beach, an investigation that was suspended twice because witnesses would not cooperate and identify people in the video. That could be the same issue here in these Jacksonville Misdemeanor Cases.

Jacksonville Misdemeanors Cases involving resisting an officer without violence can be tricky, especially in the context of a near-riot where more than 60 officers were called in. You do have the right to walk away from police if they stop you walking down the street or walking away from an incident like this, but pulling away and talking back to police in an incident of this magnitude is very likely to get someone arrested. Police are frantically trying to clear the scene and, if they have to put someone in the back of a patrol car who’s making their job more difficult, they will. Resisting without violence can also be a tough Jacksonville Misdemeanor Case because it is simply the word of the officer against the word of the defendant and most people on a jury often tend to go with the officer – especially in a situation such as this one. Our Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney can thoroughly investigate your case and, in many cases, help negotiate an agreement that will help you or your loved one into a pretrial diversion program and potentially have the adjudication withheld, as some of the defendants have already agreed to in this case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A St. Augustine city commissioner will not serve any time in the St. Johns County jail, despite his conviction last week on a charge of the misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence. A jury found Errol Jones guilty after he was arrested and accused of grabbing a police officer’s arm when trying to settle a domestic dispute at his mother’s home, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. Jones was sentenced to six months of St. Johns County probation and 50 hours of community service. If he pays his fine and finishes the probation and community service, the conviction will be removed from his criminal record, according to the newspaper report.

Jones said he arrived at his mother’s house to try to calm a family dispute, though the officers said he charged them and played the “Do you know who I am” card, trying to influence their actions with his political position, according to the newspaper report.
Prosecutors had asked for Jones’ sentence to include a letter of apology to the officer and substance abuse counseling, but the judge did not include either in his sentence last week. Jones’ case is not uncommon in the basic facts. But most like it don’t go to trial and even fewer make the newspaper –the latter of which is a product of Jones’ role as an elected official. But it does provide insight in the potential trouble that can come front getting sideways with a cop. It doesn’t take much to meet the threshold to be arrested for resisting and officer without violence in St. Johns, Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties.

Our advice, from a St. Johns County criminal defense law firm: Be quiet. And if you have to speak with police about something you are not a suspect in, always be respectful.
The officers hold the cards in these situations. Don’t let your mouth give police a reason to haul you downtown. It won’t always result in a conviction, like it did for Jones, but it could easily get you a night in jail. It is very easy to get arrested for resisting an officer. especially in Jacksonville. In order to be convicted of this misdemeanor, the state attorney would have to prove that you resisted, obstructed, or opposed the police officer. At the time you resist the officer, he or she must have been in the lawful execution of a legal duty, was in fact an officer legally authorized to execute process, and at the time you knew the person was a police officer. Often times, it is your word versus the officer’s. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in St. Augustine or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our St. Johns County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement last week said a St. Augustine police officer followed proper procedures when he arrested City Commissioner Errol Jones during a domestic dispute. That report from the St. Augustine Record has left many saying the misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence must be true and Jones is guilty.

Not true.

While it’s all well and good that one police agency is patting another police agency on the back, it means absolutely nothing in Jones’ St. Johns County misdemeanor case.
In all criminal cases in the state of Florida, including charges in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, the State Attorney’s Office makes the final decision on whether charges will be filed. Just because someone is arrested does not mean the case will go forward.
In many cases of resisting arrest, it comes down to the officer’s word against the suspect. Jones’ case is no different, it is just getting more attention because he’s an elected official.

Jones was arrested at his mother’s house, where he says he was trying to calm down a dispute between his niece and his brother’s roommate. Jones said a police officer grabbed him by the wrist and, when Jones told him to stop, the officer slapped handcuffs on him. The officer said Jones was intoxicated – which the commissioner denies – and disrupting the crime scene. Police said Jones played the dreaded “Do you know who I am?” card and told officers they would not have jobs the next week.
So who’s right?

That judgment lies for now with prosecutors and possibly with a jury down the road – but certainly not with the FDLE. A regular citizen’s word against a police officer’s word can be an uphill battle and that’s where skilled St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys come in.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in St. Augustine or the surrounding area, call Mussallem & Associate, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.

For more information on this St. Johns County story see: