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Resisting Arrest Charges in Texas
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in the state of Texas, it is important that you know the severity and potential consequences of the charge. Resisting arrest is not a minor offense. This is a serious charge which can lead to real jail time. If you were originally being arrested for a less serious offense, with an added resisting arrest charge you can suddenly be in far more trouble. This is why it is extremely important to talk to a criminal defense attorney experienced in Texas resisting arrest and self-defense law to defend you.
What Is Resisting Arrest?
The charge is found in Texas Penal Code Section 38.03. It is labeled as “Resisting Arrest, Search, or Transport.” Resisting arrest occurs when an someone uses physical force to prevent arrest or lawful restraint by an authorized law enforcement official acting in the line of duty. Even relatively small "uses of force" can give rise to a charge of resisting.
A person does not even need to be officially under arrest to be charged with resisting arrest. "Arrest" applies to temporary detention, brief transport, or being stopped for questioning by police. In any of these circumstances, you can be charged with resisting arrest if you use physical force against law enforcement.
Unfortunately, these charges rest largely on the opinion and credibility of the police officer. Law enforcement often files the charge under questionable circumstances. More police agencies are using "body cams" to record interactions with police. You probably will not be surprised that these camera "malfunction" or are turned off during many resisting cases.
Is Resisting Arrest a Felony?
Usually, no. Resisting arrest is a Class A Misdemeanor, unless the person is charge with using a deadly weapon (i.e. gun, knife, rock) while resisting. A deadly weapon increase the charge to a felony. As a practical matter, police are not likely to limit the charge to restating arrest with a deadly weapon. Instead, the charge would be changed to Assault on a Public Servant.
The penalty for Resisting Arrest in Texas is:
- Up to a year in county jai
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Two-year probation
- A permanent criminal record
Unfortunately, if resisting arrest is tacked on to a less serious offense, then suddenly that offense will be double the trouble for you as the accused. For example, if you are being apprehended for simple drug possession for personal use and are charged with resisting arrest during your apprehension, you will then be facing higher fines, longer jail time, more years of probation, and a longer criminal record. Whereas a minor drug charge may be easy to get dropped, the complicating circumstance of resisting arrest makes everything more difficult to defend.
If you are asking, "Is resisting arrest a felony" because you have been charged with the crime, a criminal defense attorney will be able to defend you whether your resisting charge is a felony or a misdemeanor. Either way, you are facing serious penalties and potential jail time, so having an expert on your side is highly advisable.
Who Can Be Charged with Resisting Arrest?
Even if you never considered yourself the type of person who would be charged in a criminal case, all it takes is being in the wrong place at the wrong time and suddenly you may find yourself with a resisting arrest case hanging over you. Perhaps you may not have known it was a police officer apprehending you or you may have been intoxicated and not acting in your best interests, but if the unexpected has happened and you have been charged with resisting arrest, there are defense attorneys who can help.
The truth of the matter is that anyone can be charged with resisting arrest. You don't have to be a career criminal or a violent person. All that it takes is a run in with law enforcement and a couple of wrong moves and you can wake up with a resisting arrest case looming over you. You may even have been charged wrongly in the case, with police tacking on extra charges when you did not even violate this law.
No matter the circumstances behind your arrest, an experienced criminal defense attorney is needed to fight for your freedom.
Finding the Right Attorney
If you have been or charged, or feel that you are about to be charged, with resisting arrest in the state of Texas, the first call you should make is to a defense attorney who is highly experienced in defending resisting arrest cases. A good attorney will be able to examine all of the details of your case from the police statements to any witness statements to your own personal version of events. The attorney will consult with you in order to determine the best possible avenue of defense for your case.
The main aim of any criminal defense attorney in a resisting arrest case is to have the charges dropped before trial. This way you can get back to your life knowing that the slate has been wiped clean and that no charges are hanging over your head. Another option is to have the charges reduced. Oftentimes a resisting arrest case can be reduced to a simple disorderly conduct charge which can be resolved with a small fine. Should the case go to trial, then your attorney will argue for your defense in front of a judge and jury and will not rest until the verdict of "not guilty" has been reached.
Do yourself a favor and immediately call a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with resisting arrest in the state of Texas. With the possibility of extensive jail time, severe fines, and a long probationary period hanging over your head, you need an experienced professional in your corner who will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. A defense attorney will be able to have your charge dismissed, reduced, or found not guilty at trial. You will be able to rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands and that the best possible outcome is in store for you.