The crime of resisting arrest is pretty much guaranteed to put police officers on edge and raise the hairs of prosecutors. By its nature, resisting arrest is a form of defiance against law enforcement, which, by extension, is defiance of the law itself. With so much to be interpreted through the charges, anyone who has been charged for resisting arrest must prepare for a difficult legal battle ahead. But it is important to acknowledge that there is a difference between things that are difficult and things that are impossible. With the right legal knowledge and criminal defense counsel, a resisting arrest charge is defendable.
When You Can Resist Arrest is Limited
Approaching the topic realistically, there are very few situations in which you can lawfully resist arrest. You must also acknowledge that proving that you were within one of those situations where resisting arrest was lawful will require an incredibly high evidential standard in court. Judges and juries do not like setting aside resisting arrest charges on anything but absolute certainty since it could potentially invite the idea that resisting arrest is acceptable.
However, you do have the right to resist an arrest you know to be unlawful. But this is about as far as the clarity on the subject extends. You have to prove that you knew the arrest was unlawful, which puts your word against the police officer’s and the law itself. You also cannot use any sort of force when resisting an unlawful arrest, which basically means you need to give in and let the unlawful arrest happen. Otherwise, you will have committed the crime of resisting arrest.
What if the police officer is using unreasonable, excessive force against you during the arrest? In such a situation, you once again gain the right to resist arrest and do what is necessary to protect yourself. But the law also requires that you stop any and all resistance if the police officer stops using excessive force, would stop using excessive force if you stopped resisting, or if your actions initially triggered the excessive force. Additionally, you must prove beyond any doubt that the police officer intended to either severely harm or kill you. Since the police officer can just tell the court that was not his or her intention, the case will be stacked heavily against you from the beginning.
Possible Defenses for Resisting Arrest Charges
Remember: creating a defense strategy against resisting arrest charges is not impossible. It will certainly be worth your time to explore what can be done to reduce your charges, have the case dismissed, or fight for a not guilty verdict. It may also be beneficial to approach the situation from the viewpoint that you did resist arrest, but that you should not be punished for it, rather than trying to argue that you did not resist at all.
Here are three defenses options you may want to consider with a criminal defense lawyer:
- Fear for your life: As discussed previously, you may have resisted arrest because the police officer was acting erratically and attempting to use excess force to subdue you. After all, most law enforcement agents carry lethal firearms and could discharge it without warning. Legitimately fearing for your life could be your decision behind resisting arrest and trying to flee the scene.
- Inadvertent resistance: Sometimes people resist arrest without ever knowing it until they are put into handcuffs. This inadvertent resistance is most common when a suspect is stopped for questioning and walks away without direct permission, not realizing that the officer wanted to detain and eventually arrest them.
- Fraudulent police behavior: You may also resist being placed in handcuffs or a squad car if you had valid reasons for believing the police officer was not a police officer at all, but an impersonator. It is important to always ask to see a badge and official identification whenever dealing with a police officer to avoid such confusing and dangerous situations.
Protecting Your Freedom is Our Priority
At Tidwell Law Group, LLC, we believe in keeping the criminal justice system honest and upholding the rights of the accused, such as the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. If you have been charged with resisting arrest and do not know where to turn, look no further than our Birmingham criminal defense attorney, Mr. Tidwell. With more than a decade of legal experience and an impressive history of successful case results, you can be confident that he has the know-how and knowledge needed to truly fight for your rights. Call205.536.7770 now to request a confidential and free case evaluation.