There are many laws on the books that can be considered controversial. One, in particular, has been the topic of many debates due to its potential for misuse by police officers, and that’s resisting arrest.The laws surrounding resisting arrest have been a hot topic among police forces who say it’s necessary to protect officers. On the other hand, some accuse police of using it as a tool to make arrests that otherwise would not hold up in court.
Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, the reality is that every citizen has rights. We’re going to discuss what the charge of resisting arrest is and what the possible penalties for these charges are.
We’ll also cover what you should do if you feel you’re being charged unduly, especially including situations where resisting an arrest is the only charge against you.
What Does The Texas Penal Code Say About Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest sounds like it has an expansive definition. The reality is, though, that it is relegated to specific actions. The Texas Penal Code provides the following definition for the crime of resisting arrest:
“A person commits an offense if he intentionally prevents or obstructs a person he knows is 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.”
There is a different charge that can be levied against people for running from the police, which is evading arrest. It is important to note that a charge of resisting arrest can be added even if the initial arrest is later deemed illegal.
For example, a person is pulled over by a police officer who then illegally searches their vehicle. A bag of marijuana is found and the person is then arrested. However, when attempting to arrest the person, they are uncooperative and forcefully try and push the officer away to avoid arrest.
Normally, the initial charge would have been thrown out during the trial. The person would have gone free and all charges dismissed. However, because the person was resisting arrest, the initial charge can still be thrown out but the charge of resisting arrest will stick.
Resisting arrest can be difficult to fight. Especially, with more and more police forces requiring officers to wear body cameras, a skilled prosecutor can use this evidence to help get a conviction for a resisting arrest charge.
If you are charged with resisting arrest, and it is the only charge you are facing, you need an experienced defense attorney who can successfully defend your rights in a court of law.
What Are The Penalties For Resisting Arrest In Texas?
The charge of resisting arrest can lead to some serious jail time depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. For a normal charge, the crime is classified as a class A misdemeanor. However, if a deadly weapon is used in the commission of the crime, the charge is elevated to a third-degree felony.
A class A misdemeanor in the state of Texas carries a penalty no more than 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000. If you are charged with felony-level resisting arrest, you can spend a minimum of two years in state prison and no more than 10 years, and be levied a fine not to exceed $10,000.
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. He has been named one of the 3 Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, recognized by Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, Avvo, and others, and he is Lead Counsel rated.