Lack Of Lettuce Leads To Criminal Charges

  • Dec 4 2020

One of the most over-charged crimes in the state of Florida is resisting an officer. How easy is it to violate this law? One Florida man was recently charged with resisting an officer after throwing a fit about lettuce in a Checkers drive-through lane. 

Was this case over-charged?

According to the Miami Herald:

“Henry Arce-Cabellero was arrested.. after having a tantrum in a Checkers drive-through lane… According to a police report [officers] responded to the fast-food restaurant after a disturbance call from employees. 

The affidavit says Arce-Cabellero was ‘yelling and screaming’ about the fact that ‘the store had no more lettuce for their sandwiches.’

The worker who took his order said that when the 49-year-old customer heard the news that the restaurant lacked lettuce, he began beating on the glass window, demanding his roughage…

Upon making contact with Arce-Cabellero, who was still in his car, officers found that the customer was “uncooperative” and denied getting boisterous.

Witnesses corroborated the employee’s account of what happened during the order.

Arce-Cabellero was charged with disorderly conduct in an establishment as well as resisting an officer without violence.”

While it is easy to see how pounding on the windows and yelling at employees could lead to a charge of disorderly conduct in an establishment, what led to the charge of resisting an officer without violence? 

The Smoking Gun reports that Arce-Cabellero “refused to identify himself, prompting an officer to remove him from the vehicle. ‘The defendant was uncooperative with me and denied the allegations,’ a patrolman reported.” 

That might not seem like much, but “resisting” is not a well-defined term, so almost any action the police don’t like can be called resisting and lead to criminal charges. It does not matter if the resisting occurs while an arrest is in progress. 

Some common scenarios that often result in a charge of resisting an officer without violence include:

  • Running away from an officer after being told to stop.
  • Not obeying verbal commands, like “step out of your car.”
  • Refusing to leave an area when asked.
  • Not standing up or sitting down when asked.
  • Not putting your hands up or behind your back when asked.
  • Tensing your arms or flexing when an officer is trying to handcuff you.

Resisting an officer without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000 fine. What someone who is convicted of resisting an officer without violence is actually sentenced to varies significantly based on the circumstances of the case and the offender’s criminal history.

If you threaten the officer or some sort of violence actually occurs in one of these situations, the charge can be bumped up to resisting an officer with violence.

Under Florida law, resisting an officer with violence is classified as a third-degree felony. Offenders may be sentenced to as much as 5 years in prison and fined $5,000. Even defendants with no criminal history often wind up behind bars if they are convicted. If a law enforcement officer was actually injured or a weapon was used, a lengthy prison sentence is almost certain.

If you have been charged with resisting an officer, with or without violence, you should contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC. This is a charge we see far too often, so we know exactly what sort of evidence to look for to get it thrown out. 

Posted in: Criminal