RESISTING ARREST

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When we imagine a person resisting arrest, the mental image that comes to mind is that of a person violently thrashing around and physically resisting an officer who is simply attempting to handcuff him or her.

Resisting arrest is a criminal charge against an individual who has committed, depending on the jurisdiction, at least one of the following acts:

  • Fleeing a police officer while being arrested.
  • Threatening a police officer with physical violence while being arrested.
  • Physically struggling to free oneself from being restrained (handcuffed or put into the police vehicle).
  • Attacking a police officer while being arrested.
  • Providing an officer with false identification (either verbally or by presentation of a false official document, i.e. a fake ID).

 

But it is to be kept in mind that not all arrests are lawful and based upon probable cause. However, an attempt at resisting arrest can lead to additional charges including criminal charges.

In most cases, resisting arrest heads on to other add-on charges. After all, legal administration had to have a reason to arrest the suspect in the first place that caused him or her to resist. In many states, these charges may be called “resisting officer with violence” and “resisting arrest without violence” or similar terminology.

In many jurisdictions, resisting arrest is considered a criminal act. This is usually punishable by upto a year in jail along with added penalties such as fines, community service and probation. These penalties are in addition to the charges that the defendant may face due to the original charges for which the person was being arrested.

A resisting arrest charge is very subjective in nature. It generally relies on the law enforcement officer’s determination that the defendant is resisting being arrested.

In order to avoid being charged with a resisting arrest, the suspect may make an effort to act peacefully and respectfully so that there is no room for charges of this nature to arise. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to challenge an unlawful arrest without putting the defendant’s freedom at stake with resisting arrest charges.

However, in some cases, a person may face resisting arrest charges due to unclear language. The individual may not understand what the law enforcement officer is saying or may not ever be aware that the law enforcement officer is talking to him or her. Individuals who know that they are innocent may resist arrest because they know that that they are innocent. A person may believe that the law enforcement officer has made a mistake or has the wrong person. He or she may believe that the cop is discriminating against him or her. In some jurisdictions, if the arrest is considered to be unlawful then the resisting arrest charges will be dismissed.

Individuals who face resisting arrest officers should seek immediate legal assistance from a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer may be able to assess the situation and raise all defenses to show that the defendant was in fact not resisting arrest as accused. Rather than fighting criminal charges based on resisting, a lawyer may be able to fight for the defendant’s rights due to an unlawful arrest.

 

Sanchayeeta Das

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer

 

 

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