Although being arrested is a stressful and frightening experience for many, resisting arrest is a crime in Texas. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights until your case has been closed.
The elements of resisting arrest
An individual may be convicted of resisting arrest, search, or transportation if that individual intentionally or knowingly prevents or obstructs someone that person knows to be a peace officer (or someone acting in the peace officer’s presence) from completing a search, arrest, or transport of the individual by the use of force.
The statute adds that it does not matter if the search or the arrest was unlawful. Even if an officer attempts to complete a search without a warrant, for example, an individual may be charged with resisting arrest, search, or transportation if the individual tries to stop the officer with the use of force.
Penalties for resisting arrest, search, or transportation
Resisting arrest, search, or transportation is a class A misdemeanor. In Texas, class A misdemeanors carry a sentence of up to a year in jail. In addition, a fine of up to $4,000 may be ordered.
However, if a deadly weapon is used to resist arrest, search, or transportation, the crime is a third degree felony. Third degree felonies are punishable by between 2 and 10 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be ordered.
Are there any defenses to resisting arrest, search, or transportation?
As with most crimes, there are defenses available in resisting arrest, search, or transportation charges.
The language of the statute requires that the offender acted intentionally when resisting arrest, search, or transportation. Additionally, it must be shown that the offender knew the individual conducting the search, arrest, or transportation was a peace officer. If the offender did not truly mean to resist, or if the offender was unaware that he was in the presence of a peace officer, the charges may be reduced or dismissed.
The state must also prove that the accused actually used force when resisting the arrest, search, or transportation. If not, the charges should be reduced or dismissed.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys will study the facts of the claim and determine what defenses are available. Criminal defense attorneys are trained to pinpoint these defenses and gather the necessary evidence to support them.
When do I need to hire an attorney?
You should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney will then be able to communicate with members of law enforcement on your behalf. If you speak with law enforcement after your arrest, you may make statements that could be used against you. Even if you are explaining your perspective on what happened, you may say something that damages your claim. It is best to leave the communications to your attorney.
Your attorney will also ensure that the state is providing sufficient evidence of the crime—if not, your charges should be reduced or dismissed. Criminal defense attorneys know what evidence the state must present so that a claim is able to proceed. The burden is on the state to prove criminal charges.
If you have been arrested, contact our office today
At the Hampton Eppes Law Group our legal team is experienced in all types of cases. Brian Eppes and Jeff Hampton spent much of their careers as a prosecutor and they know what the state must present in a case. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.