Resisting arrest, under Texas law, is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly if you or a loved one are charged. The best way to address any criminal charge is to consult an experienced local criminal defense attorney.
Resisting Arrest Charges in Dallas
The term resisting arrest can be confusing, and many actions could result in arrest, so it’s important to understand the law and how to deal with potential charges properly. Specifically, the Texas Penal Code defines resisting arrest as intentionally preventing or obstructing a police officer or a person acting in an officer’s presence and at his direction from effecting an arrest, search, or transportation using force.
These elements are crucial because not all non-compliance or disagreement with an officer necessarily amounts to resisting arrest under the law.
Situations that May Rise to Resisting Arrest
- There was a struggle: Actively fighting against or physically struggling to prevent an officer from handcuffing or restraining you.
- Fleeing the scene: Attempting to run away or escape from an officer during an arrest or detainment. This would usually be charged as a separate offense: evading arrest or detention.
- Grabbing or pushing an officer: Physically interacting with an officer aggressively, such as pushing, grabbing, or shoving, during an arrest.
- Providing false information: Deliberately giving false information or identification to mislead officers during an arrest process. This would usually be charged as a separate offense: failure to identify.
- Interfering with handcuffs or restraints: Actively trying to interfere with or prevent the application of handcuffs or other restraints.
- Encouraging others to resist: Urging or instructing others involved in the situation to resist arrest or not comply with law enforcement.
- Use of a weapon: Using or threatening to use a weapon to prevent arrest, even if the weapon is not directly used against the officer.
- Blocking police path: Intentionally standing in the way or obstructing a police officer’s path during an arrest, either of yourself or another person.
- Verbally threatening violence: Making verbal threats of violence or harm against an officer during the arrest process.
Misconceptions about Resisting Arrest
A prevalent misconception is that any disagreement or non-compliance during an arrest or encounter with law enforcement amounts to resistance. However, disagreeing or questioning the reason for arrest does not typically constitute resisting. The critical element is using force or physical action to prevent an officer’s lawful duty.
Imagine you’re stopped by a police officer who suspects you of a minor traffic violation. Feeling that the stop is unjustified, you verbally disagree and ask the officer why you’re being stopped. This verbal expression of dissatisfaction or questioning of the officer’s action is not resisting arrest.
However, if you were to physically push the officer away while they’re trying to handcuff you, that action would cross the line into resisting arrest because it involves the use of physical force to obstruct the officer’s duty.
Resisting Arrest in TX: Penalties & Consequences
No matter the scenario, dealing with charges immediately and correctly is paramount. Resisting arrest can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony in TX, and depending on the circumstances, you could face fines, jail time, or both.
A Class A misdemeanor for resisting arrest can result in up to a year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, and years of probation. If resisting arrest is elevated to a felony (usually in cases involving a deadly weapon), you may face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines – not to mention a felony conviction in your background.
The Right Way to Handle an Arrest
You might feel like the officer is overstepping their authority or you might be understandably upset by a stressful situation. The best approach to dealing with possible arrest is to remain calm and comply with the officer’s instructions. Remember, it is not a defense to resisting arrest that the arrest, search, or transportation was unlawful. Even if the police are in the wrong, that doesn’t protect you for a criminal charge if you resist them.
Physical resistance or verbal threats can escalate and lead to more severe charges. It’s important to remember that your behavior during the arrest can significantly impact the legal process later.
Everyone has rights during an arrest, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. It’s crucial to exercise these rights. You should refrain from making any statements without legal representation present.
Here’s What Not to Do
Do not physically resist, attempt to flee, and engage in any form of verbal aggression. Not only could this lead to a resisting arrest charge but may also result in additional charges. You might be accused of assaulting a peace officer.
Consider a situation where you are approached by the police for questioning. If you become defensive and physically push an officer, this could lead to a resisting arrest charge. In contrast, if you remain calm and don’t physically interfere with the officer’s job or threaten their well-being, even if you disagree with their questioning, they are less likely to arrest you.
Is Talking Back Considered Resisting Arrest?
Talking back to a police officer during an arrest or detainment is a common concern. It is important to understand how it is viewed legally. Generally, merely speaking back, expressing disagreement, or questioning an officer’s actions does not constitute resisting arrest.
However, while talking back may not be legally defined as resisting arrest, it’s important to approach such situations cautiously. Verbally aggressive or threatening behavior could escalate the situation and lead to other charges or complications. It’s critical to remain calm and composed during interactions with law enforcement and to exercise your rights respectfully, especially to remain silent.
How to Defend Against Resisting Arrest
Despite what a prosecutor or police officer says if you’re charged with resisting arrest, convictions are not set in stone. There is a lot an effective defense attorney can do to improve your situation. Common defense strategies include arguing that the arrest was unlawful and that there was no intentional resistance.
For instance, your attorney might argue that there was no intentional resistance on your part. Maybe you were confused or didn’t understand the officer’s instructions. In this scenario, any perceived non-compliance might not have been a deliberate attempt to resist.
Charged with Resisting Arrest in Dallas? Call Mike Howard
If you’re facing a resisting arrest charge in the Dallas area, seeking professional legal assistance is crucial. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, attorney Mike Howard can provide the guidance and representation you need. From reducing the harm of a mistake made in the heat of the moment to proving your innocence, contact The Law Office of Mike Howard at (214) 296-2221 to schedule a consultation about your case.View All Blogs