Sometimes a simple misunderstanding or wrongful accusation can lead to a bad situation with serious consequences. So whether or not you’re guilty of what you’re being charged with, it’s important to behave rationally and lawfully. It’s important not to prevent law enforcement officers from executing a search warrant, transport, or arrest. But what does resisting arrest in Texas really mean?
Here are some of the common questions people ask about resisting arrest in the State of Texas.
According to Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code, you can be found guilty of resisting arrest if you make any attempt to obstruct law enforcement in their search, transport, or arrest of you or another person. No matter how much you’re compelled to argue for yourself or the person that you think is being wrongfully charged, you need to stay calm and to not engage in any acts of violence. Resisting arrest is considered to be a “grave charge” in the State of Texas — one that makes you look guilty of a crime, even if you’re innocent.
According to Texas Law, there’s a difference between resisting and evading arrest. It’s important to draw this distinction, because there are certain legal defenses that may apply to one but not the other. That’s why you need to work with a qualified attorney who can advise you on this matter. The term “resisting arrest” refers to any use of force against a law enforcement officer, while evading arrest may not. Another thing that separates these two charges is related to the “lawfulness” of the arrest. You can still be charged with a crime, even if the arrest was unlawful. But with evading arrest, the arrest needs to be lawful.
Texas police officers have a very limited scope of authority when it comes to making an arrest. They must adhere to the following guidelines:
· The officer must have personally observed the crime, have “probable cause” to believe that the person committed a crime, or have an arrest warrant.
· The officer must be able to justify the arrest. This is typically done with some sort of tangible evidence that can lead to “probable cause,” so it needs to be more than just a “hunch” that someone might be a criminal.
· Officers must not use “excessive force” beyond the minimum amount that is necessary to protect themselves while bringing someone into custody.
Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.
The penalties for resisting arrest in Texas will depend on the circumstances of the arrest. It’s most commonly considered to be a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. In some cases, it would be considered a third-degree felony. This can result in an incarceration period between 2 and 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
While resisting arrest is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the State of Texas for first-time offenders, the charge is often upgraded to a third-degree felony if a deadly weapon was used by the person being arrested. It can also be considered a felony if he or she has been previously convicted.
Some of the common defenses against resisting arrest in Texas can include but may not be limited to:
· You lacked criminal intent — In order for the State of Texas to convict you of resisting arrest, the prosecutor must be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you had criminal intent. You may not have known that the person trying to detain you was a police officer.
· Force wasn’t used against the police officer — The officer could be claiming that you used “force” to resist arrest, but it may have been passive or undefined. Police officers will often get upset with someone who isn’t moving or responding as quickly they would like. So, they will get angry with the person they are arresting and claim that their inability to comply was a form of “passive resistance.” To be considered “force” in the State of Texas, the person being arrested must take “aggressive or assertive” actions against the officer to resist arrest.
If you have been accused of resisting arrest in Texas and are looking for a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi to help you come up with a solid defense, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.