Charged with Resisting Arrest in Tarrant County?
If you have been arrested and charged with resisting arrest in Fort Worth, Texas or a surrounding city in Tarrant County, Texas, it is critical to find an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer to represent you and work to negotiate a dismissal of your case to protect your clean criminal record.
Receiving a criminal conviction for resisting arrest could not only carry the criminal consequences of a hefty fine and time in jail but could also limit your job prospects and reputation in the future. Although most resisting arrest cases are categorized as a misdemeanor charge, being convicted for a resisting arrest can appear to employers that you have issues with authority or may be a violent person.
Every prospective client that has been arrested for resisting arrest has the same goals:
- Stay out of jail – no one wants to go to jail. The number one priority for your resisting arrest attorney should be to resolve your case in a manner that avoids jails time. If you are a first-time offender, jail time should not even be an option to consider in your discussions with your criminal lawyer. Even if you have been convicted for a crime in your past, your criminal attorney should tirelessly fight to resolve your case to keep you out of jail.
- Avoid a criminal conviction – avoiding a criminal conviction is a top priority for any first-time offender. Being convicted of a crime is a devastating result that can affect how people judge you and limit your future employment and other opportunities. Whether it be through a dismissal, diversion program or deferred adjudication, your criminal defense attorney should explore every option to avoid a final conviction on your criminal record.
- Clear their criminal record – having an arrest or criminal case on your arrest record can severely limit you in your life. Even if your resisting arrest case has been dismissed, if you do not take the next step to get an expunction of your arrest and charge, employers and others that run your public record background check can reject you for opportunities and employment. Is that fair? No! However, most employers immediately reject candidates if they see an arrest record, regardless of whether your resisting arrest case was dismissed. Remember, an arrest and charge does not automatically fall off your criminal record. You must first get your case dismissed, then file the appropriate paperwork to remove the arrest and charges from public view.
How Do Texas Laws Define Resisting Arrest?
According to Texas Penal Code, Title 8: Offenses Against Public Administration, Chapter 38: Obstructing Governmental Operation, Section 38.03, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will have to prove the following elements of resisting arrest beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction:
It must be proven that you intentionally prevented or obstructed a person that you knew was a peace officer or a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction from effecting an arrest, search, or transportation of the actor or another by using force against the peace officer or another.
Below is a snapshot of the actual Texas Penal Code, click on the image to enlarge it.
Source: Texas Penal Code Title 8, Chapter 38.03 Resisting Arrest, Search or Transportation.
Basically, Texas resisting arrest law requires that the State of Texas must prove that you either (1) prevented or attempted to stop a police officer from arresting you, (2) got in the way of an officer’s search for a wanted fugitive (or hid as a fugitive while the officer tried to make an arrest), or (3) that you prevented the officer from transporting you or another person they attempted to take into custody.
Below are a few examples of actions that have been deemed as resisting arrest:
- Obstructing an arrest
- Preventing a search
- Hiding from an arresting officer
- Preventing an officer from taking you or another into custody
- Impeding transportation needed to make an arrest
- Fleeing or escaping from an arresting officer
- Using force against a law enforcement officer to evade arrest or help another do so
- Attempting to prevent an arrest
Fines & Punishment in Texas for a Resisting Arrest Conviction
Texas Penal Code Title 8, Chapter 38.03 Resisting Arrest, Search or Transportation states that if the actor uses a deadly weapon to resist the arrest or search then the crime is categorized as a third-degree felony punishable by no less than 2 years but not more than 10 years in a Texas prison.
In all other situations, the Texas Penal Code designates the crime of resisting arrest as a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in the Tarrant County jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Even if you think these charges are minor, in many cases they can be enhanced to make the punishment more severe. Seek the counsel of an experienced resisting arrest lawyer who knows how to build and execute a strong defense.
Unfortunately, under the same section of the Texas Penal Code, you cannot argue that the arrest or attempted arrest was unlawful as your criminal defense. In other words, if a police officer singled you out for no legal reason and chose to harass and illegally search you and that search led to nothing of substance, if you resist that officer’s attempt to search or arrest you, you can still be arrested and charged with the crime of resisting arrest.
It is important to understand that no matter how improper and illegal the police officer may be acting, you must not resist the officer in even the slightest way, or you could be facing a serious criminal charge. Even if you think the officer is searching you illegally, trying to stop him could mean resisting arrest charges.
So, what should you do if you are being illegally arrested? If you know you are being illegally searched or arrested, be polite and keep a low volume voice with the police officer. Many police officers respond aggressively to people that are talking loudly or aggressively to them. If you take a diplomatic and professional tone with the police officer, it makes it much harder for the police officer to ever claim you were resisting arrest or escalating this situation.
What Can You Do If Your Loved One Has Been Arrested For Resisting Arrest?
If your friend or loved one has been arrested for resisting arrest, what can you expect will happen? After your loved one has been handcuffed, placed in the back of the patrol car, and transported to the Tarrant County jail, they will be booked in, processed, and brought before a magistrate for an arraignment hearing. At this hearing, your loved one will be informed of the resisting arrest charge and a bond will be set.
At this point, you will be permitted to post a bond through a licensed bondsman or through The Hampton Law Firm. The Hampton Law Firm is approved for surety bonds through the Tarrant County jail and can process a bond for your loved one at no additional cost to you.
Upon being released from jail, your loved one will have a series of court dates where the prosecutor and your criminal defense attorney will have the opportunity to negotiate a resolution to the case. It is critical that you work with a criminal defense lawyer that can walk you through this process and prepare you for how to best protect the freedom and future of your loved one.
Why Hire a Defense Lawyer for Resisting Arrest Charges?
The crime of resisting arrest is a serious criminal allegation and if convicted, can seriously damage your reputation in the community and with your employer. You must know your rights and fight to keep this charge off of your criminal record by retaining an experienced criminal defense lawyer that will aggressively fight and do what it takes to get your case dismissed.
At The Hampton Law Firm, we tirelessly fight to get your resisting arrest charges dismissed. There are several ways we have been able to obtain a dismissal for a resisting arrest charge. The most common ways to get the case dismissed include:
- Dismissal for lack of evidence – the State of Texas always has the burden to prove the elements of resisting arrest beyond a reasonable doubt. The best resisting arrest attorneys will gain access to the evidence, go over it in detail with you and formulate a strategy of defense based upon the State’s weaknesses with the case. It may be possible to establish sufficient reasonable doubt regarding the charge, that the prosecutor will dismiss the case outright.
For example: we have represented clients where the police officer arrested our client for resisting arrest based upon “passive” resistance. The allegation was that because our client did not respond immediately to the officer’s demands (did not immediately put their hand behind their back because they were asking questions to the officer), this equated to “passive” resistance by failing to comply. We argued to the prosecution that “force,” under the Texas Penal Code speaks to assertive actions taken by the accused against the police officer with the intent to prevent a detention or arrest. This winning argument created sufficient reasonable doubt to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case.
- Conditional Dismissal – even if the resisting case can technically be proven, your resisting arrest attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to offer a conditional dismissal. A conditional dismissal is a dismissal of all charges in exchange for completing terms or conditions that have been negotiated. This type of dismissal provides a resolution to the case and gives you the right to file for an expunction of your criminal record in the future.
For example: we have represented clients where there was some doubt regarding whether the client knew that the officer was a police officer. Instances where an officer was in plain clothes or not in uniform. In some of these situations, we were able to negotiate a dismissal of the charges in exchange for completion of community service or alcohol awareness class (if alcohol was involved) or anger management (if appropriate). This arrangement provided proof to the prosecutor that our client had “learned their lesson,” while ensuring our client’s resisting arrest case was dismissed.
- Jury Trial – finally, under the United States and Texas Constitutions, you always have the right to a jury trial to force the State of Texas to prove every element of resisting arrest beyond a reasonable doubt. By pressing a case to a jury trial, you are sometimes able to obtain a result at the eve of trial that you would not have otherwise been able to obtain.
For example: many cases that are forced to a jury trial will be reduced or dismissed when there was no offer available prior to the trial. Why? Most prosecutors are overwhelmed with their case load and do not give ample attention to the case file until they must prepare it for a jury trial. As a result, upon preparing the case for a trial, the prosecutor may begin to realize their case is weaker than they realized and become more flexible in their willingness to negotiate. This is why it is critical that you hire a criminal defense attorney that is not afraid to push your resisting arrest case to a jury trial setting in order to obtain you the best result.
Our resisting arrest defense attorneys at The Hampton Law Firm will aggressively fight to keep this criminal allegation off of your criminal record.
Call Now to Schedule a Free Case Review
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation and an opportunity to speak to one of your team of experienced and aggressive former prosecutors with over 80 years of criminal law experience and over five hundred criminal jury trials. We stand ready to talk about the facts of your case and the options you have under Texas law. Call Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-826-9905.
Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.