Resisting or delaying arrest by law enforcement is considered a serious misdemeanor in most states, which could lead to you facing criminal charges. Complying with a law enforcement officer's requests when they attempt to arrest you would be best, as it would mean that you avoid more trouble, including more serious charges such as assaulting the officer in the heat of the moment. After the arrest, you can always have a criminal defense lawyer come to your aid to try and beat the charges against you.
What is considered resisting arrest?
Any acts that would prevent an officer of the law from handcuffing or arresting you are considered resisting arrest. This would include physically running, struggling or hiding from the arresting officer as he tries to implement the arrest, or threatening the officer with violence in the process.
Some suspects resort to giving false identification so as to evade arrest, which is also considered resisting arrest. In addition, any attempts to help another person evade arrest could also land you in trouble with the law.
Other acts such as complying slowly to an officer's request, questioning why you are being arrested or even swearing or being sarcastic to the officers are usually not enough to warrant resisting arrest charges, though it would just be easier to comply and call your lawyer.
Defenses against resisting arrest
A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help evaluate you options and come up with a defense for allegations of resisting arrest. Here are some popular defenses that could get you off the hook for such charges.
- The arresting officer did not identify himself - The arresting officer is mandated by law to identify himself as law enforcement, and to inform you of his intention to arrest you. If the officer fails to do so, either because he disregards protocol, is off duty or working undercover, your lawyer could use this information to get you off the charges.
You may also be unable to identify the police officer, either due to intense intoxication or an injury to the head, which could also be grounds for not intentionally resisting arrest.
- Unlawful arrest - This could be the case when you resist an arrest that shouldn't be made in the first place, such as putting up resistance for an unlawful search of your property.
- Self-defense - If the arresting officer does, at any point during the arrest, use excessive force, the arrest becomes unlawful. This may solicit a forceful reaction from you, which your lawyer could argue as self-defense. However, should the police officer use unlawful force as a result of forceful resistance from you, this defense strategy will not suffice.
To learn more, contact a criminal defense attorney like Thomas A Corletta.