Many of us have found ourselves in unfair situations before – a misunderstanding, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. Sometimes these unjust scenarios can involve law enforcement, too.
Even if you believe you have no reason to be arrested, it’s important to remember that cooperating with arresting officers will only make things easier for you in the long run.
Learn here how to safely and successfully navigate a situation in which you’re being arrested, but think you shouldn’t be.
The Law on Resisting Arrest in Texas
It’s true. In Texas, you can be found guilty of resisting arrest without ever being charged with any other crime. When an offender in any way prevents or tries to prevent a law enforcement officer from executing an arrest or transporting them, they may face resisting arrest charges.
Even when the arrest seems unlawful, you can still be found guilty of resisting it. Note, resisting arrest is typically a Class A misdemeanor. In a case where the individual uses a deadly weapon, then the charge is elevated to a felony.
Unlawful Arrests Still Lead to Resisting Arrest Charges
As previously mentioned, the legality of the arrest is not a valid defense for a resisting arrest charge. Just last year, a man was charged with resisting arrest even though the arresting officer clearly violated his Miranda Rights.
In this particular situation, the arresting officer struck the victim and slammed him to the ground, long before he told the victim that he was under arrest.
Although the officer was clearly in the wrong and is, in fact, being charged with a crime now, the victim was still initially charged with resisting arrest.
What to Do When You Are Being Arrested in Texas
Because resisting arrest charges can be serious, it’s best to avoid them in the first place. Here are a few quick tips on encountering a Texas officer in the first place:
- When being pulled over, do so on the right shoulder as soon as it is reasonably safe.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel until the officer gives you further instructions.
- If the encounter leads to arrest, keep calm and follow all directions given.
- Once you’ve been arrested, calmly request to call your attorney.
We understand – it’s easy to get flustered and maybe even confused by simple questions, but it’s imperative to keep a respectful demeanor the whole time.
If you are placed under arrest, being cooperative and avoiding any physical or any other kind of confrontation will go a long way once you’re in front of a judge.
What Not to Do During a Texas Arrest
Just last year, in Blue Mound, a man was being pulled over by the police. Instead of cooperating and following directions, he got out of the car and tried to walk away.
When they attempted to detain him, he wound up in a physical fight with the officers, injuring one of them during his arrest. This is a perfect example of what not to do, and this man was indeed arrested and charged with resisting arrest, among other things.
Fighting an Unlawful Arrest Charge in Texas
Just because you can’t use the defense of unlawful arrest against this charge doesn’t mean you have no defense at all. Timing is everything when it comes to a Texas arrest. Don’t waste it on completely avoidable charges like resisting arrest.
It’s a crime that is often simply used to stack the decks against you and maximize penalties. Instead, cooperate at the time of the event, and talk to your attorney as soon as you can.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.