The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that running from police, even If you did nothing else wrong, constitutes resisting an arrest, a misdemeanor. This, they state, is only true in high crime neighborhoods where the area combined with your fleeing gives officers probable cause.
In a ruling that even some of the Justices questioned the repercussions of, the Court was tasked with making a definite decision on something the lower courts had disagreed on. A ruling out of the Third District Court of Appeals stated that unless the police have a legitimate reason to stop you in the first place, running away is not a crime in itself. The Second District Court found the opposite.
The issue with this ruling is that it only applies in high crime neighborhoods, neighborhoods where running away from the police can be seen as a sign of additional criminal activity. The logic is that if you run, you must have something to hide.
On the other hand, you can run from the police if you live in a nicer neighborhood, one that isn’t plagued with crime. The double standard is what has many people worried.
The Supreme Court of Florida, according to this article from The Jacksonville Observer, has asked that the Legislature clarify the law, potentially clearing up this potentially discriminatory ruling.
Even Justice Barbara Pariente, who sided with the majority, states that this ruling based on the law creates “the potential for disparate and unnecessary criminalization of otherwise innocent conduct.”
Particularly for people who live in high crime neighborhoods, law enforcement has become something to fear. This new ruling does nothing to improve that situation and instead creates an even bigger potential for distrust of authority.
Whether you are facing charges of drug possession or assault, you may be in that same distrustful state, wondering if you will be treated fairly in the legal system. Choosing a defense attorney can help assure your rights will be looked out for.
Call me today to discuss the details of the charges against you. I may be able to quell some of that fear and ensure you get the best results possible on your case.