Resisting a police officer who is trying to arrest you can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on factors such as whether your efforts to resist the officer involved physical violence.
If a police officer is trying to arrest you, but you are sure that you have not done anything wrong, it is only human to protest and try to set the record straight. Unfortunately, this often makes things worse, and you can be accused of impeding arrest, in addition to any other accusations that led to the arrest in the first place. The best thing to do if a police officer is trying to arrest you is to exercise your right to remain silent and to talk things over with a lawyer at the earliest opportunity; if the officer truly had no business arresting you, your lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped quickly. If you have tried to flee, verbally resist, or physically fight off an officer, even if you only did so briefly, charges of resisting arrest can apply. If you are being accused of resisting arrest, contact an Austin criminal defense for misdemeanors lawyer.
What Constitutes Resisting Arrest?
For charges of resisting arrest to apply, the following conditions must be present:
- A law enforcement officer was acting within her official duties, such as by conducting a traffic stop or executing a search warrant or an arrest warrant
- The defendant should reasonably have known that the person attempting to make the arrest was a law enforcement officer because the officer was wearing a uniform or displayed his or her badge
- The defendant attempting to evade arrest, such as by walking away from the officer, making false or misleading statements, or physically fighting the officer off
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Texas
In most instances, resisting arrest is a class A misdemeanor, which means that the maximum penalty is one year in county jail and a fine of $4,000. If aggravating factors are present, such as if the defendant physically injures the officer, the state can prosecute the offense as a felony. If that happens and the case results in a conviction, then the maximum penalty is 10 years in state prison and a fine of $10,000.
Defenses to Charges of Resisting Arrest
You can be acquitted of charges of resisting arrest if you can show that the officer who arrested you was not acting in his or her official duties or did not identify himself or herself as a law enforcement officer. The charges also do not apply if the officer was wrong to try to arrest you because you had not done anything that would justify an arrest. You can also argue that you acted in self-defense if the officer was unjustly using force when you physically resisted.
An Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Fight Charges of Resisting Arrest
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you have been accused of resisting arrest by a law enforcement officer with or without physical force. Contact Granger and Mueller in Austin, Texas, or call (512)474-9999.