When you’re arrested, there are usually two ways things can go: You ask the police officers why you’re being arrested and allow them to take you into custody, or you forcefully resist arrest, because you believe the police do not have probable cause.
It is the second scenario that can get you in trouble, because prosecutors can add a resisting arrest charge to any other charges that caused the arrest.
In most states, resisting arrest is defined as any behavior or action you take that obstructs an officer from making an arrest and forces a police officer to use force to eliminate the resistance.
Resisting arrest can include:
- Using force to prevent a police officer from arresting you
- Provide false identification or false personal information to a police officer
- Forcing a police officer to overcome your resistance with physical actions
- Threatening a police officer with physical harm during the arrest
- Physically helping another person to resist arrest
Common Defenses In Criminal Law Against a Resisting Arrest Charge
If you are charged with resisting arrest, there are several defenses that you can use, including:
- Self-Defense – you can argue that the arresting officer used excessive force that required you to defend yourself. Remember, however, that with self-defense, your response must be reasonable and equal to the force used against you.
- Unlawful Arrest – if the arrest was unlawful, meaning there was no probable cause for the arrest, you can argue that your actions were legal because the arrest was illegal.
- Unaware Officer Was Law Enforcement – if you were arrested by an undercover police officer, or a plain-clothes law detective, you could argue that you were not aware the person was in law enforcement. You would have to prove that the person did not identify themselves, and that you could not have reasonably known that the person you were resisting was a member of law enforcement.
- Proving You Didn’t Resist – this involves proving that your actions could not be considered ‘resisting,’ for example, you could argue that all you did was question the officer’s reasons for the arrest, and that your question angered the officer and made him or her charge you with resisting arrest. You would need witnesses to corroborate this defense.
Your Right To a Legal Defense
After you’ve been arrested, you have the right to hire a criminal defense law firm to help answer the charges the state has brought against you. If you make a mistake and hire an inexperienced law firm, you may end up paying in legal fees and in a long prison sentence. Your best bet is to hire a firm with the resources to mount an aggressive defense, and that’s an apt description for the team at Paul J. Donnelly, P.A. Please contact us today for a free consultation about your case to see how we can help you.