Resisting arrest is a serious crime punishable by both fines and jail time in Frisco. If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Frisco, Texas, you should immediately reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What is Resisting Arrest?
According to Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code, resisting arrest is when an individual uses force to intentionally prevent or obstruct a peace officer from making an arrest, carrying out a search, or transporting an individual accused of a crime.
The term force is defined broadly by Texas courts. Examples of force include:
- pushing or shoving an officer,
- hitting an officer,
- struggling against an officer, and
- batting an officer’s arm away.
You do not even need to make contact with the officer to be charged with resisting arrest. For instance, if you kick or swing your arm at a police officer but miss his body, you can still be charged.
What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Frisco?
Resisting arrest can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of your case. In general, resisting arrest is classified as a Class A misdemeanor in Frisco. Class A misdemeanor convictions are punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000 and up to one year in jail. Class A is the highest level of misdemeanor charges.
If you used a deadly weapon while resisting arresting, the conviction will be bumped up to a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000 and two to ten years in prison.
In most cases, you will also be facing additional penalties for the charges that led you to be arrested in the first place. Experienced representation is especially important when you are charged with multiple crimes.
What are Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Frisco?
There are several possible defenses that an experienced criminal defense could argue in your resisting arrest case. The defenses that your attorney can raise depending on the specific facts of your case. Some common defenses include:
- Officer Did Not Identify Himself. It is impossible to intentionally resist arrest if you did not know that the person was a law enforcement officer. The police officer must verbally identify himself. This defense most often arises with undercover officers.
- False Allegations. You can argue the facts of the situation were different from what the police report states. Sometimes, charges may be filed against you in retaliation if you were merely rude or sarcastic to the police officer. Non-threatening statements disagreeing with the arrest is not enough for a conviction. It helps to have witnesses or other evidence to back up this defense.
- No Intent to Resist Arrest. You must intentionally resist arrest. For example, if you had physical contact with the officer, but it was caused by a medical condition resulting in involuntary convulsions, you have a valid defense to resisting arrest. Intoxication from drugs or alcohol does not negate intent.
- Use of Excessive Force. You have the right to reasonably defend yourself against excessive force. Under Texas Penal Code Section 9.31(c), if a police officer uses greater force than necessary to make an arrest or search, and you reasonably believe that force is immediately necessary to protect yourself, you can use the amount of force needed to defend yourself. For example, you could raise the excessive force defense if a police officer unjustifiably shoots his weapon at you, and you respond by wrestling the gun out of his hands. After subduing the officer, you cannot then further harm the officer. Importantly, if the officer’s use of force was in response to forceful resistance by you, you will lose your self-defense claim.
It is not a defense that the underlying arrest was unlawful. Even if the arrest was illegal, you can be convicted of resisting arrest in Frisco. This is different than other state laws that require the arrest to have been lawful. It is also different than other similar Texas laws, like evading arrest. To be convicted of evading arrest in Frisco, the underlying arrest charge must be lawful.
Speak to an Experienced Frisco Attorney
If you or someone you know is facing resisting arrest charges, you should immediately reach out to a local Frisco criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. He has years of experience defending individuals against resisting arrest charges in the Frisco area. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (214) 845-7987 for a consultation.