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
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. Call205.800.8596 now to request a
free case evaluation.