Attorney Joseph Soler
Is it illegal to run from the police in Florida?
Florida case law recognizes that flight from law enforcement, standing alone, is not necessarily indicative of illegal activity and that there are perfectly legal reasons why someone may run from the police. Therefore, it is not necessarily illegal to run from the police in Florida. However, it can be considered a crime in certain circumstances.
DISCLAIMER: Please do not rely on this blog post to decide when or if you should run from law enforcement—the purpose of this post is to discuss an interesting legal issue, not to advise you on when to run! If you have specific legal questions, be sure to contact a criminal defense attorney.
When is it a crime to run from the police?
If the police have reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed a crime or are about to commit a crime.
If there has been a report of crime or a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) and you match the description.
If it is a high-crime area and the police order you to stop.
What is a “high-crime area?”
A high-crime area is an area known for heavy narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities.
If I run from the police, what can I be charged with?
The mere act of running from police in a high-crime area is not illegal; however, once the police issue a command to “stop,” knowingly defying the command is considered the crime of resisting or obstructing an officer without violence. For more information on resisting or obstructing an officer without violence, see our post here.
Also, if you run from the police after you do commit a crime, the fact that you ran can later be used against you as evidence of “consciousness of guilt.” In other words, a prosecutor can argue that you ran because you knew that you were guilty!
What are some innocent reasons someone may run?
They do not like police!
They do not trust law enforcement and are afraid that they will be abused or beaten up
They are mentally ill or confused
If you have been charged with obstruction or resisting without violence
If you have been arrested for obstruction or resisting without violence after you ran and you believe that it may have been an illegal arrest, please contact us for a free consultation. If you would like to learn more about our criminal defense attorneys, please visit our homepage here.