Resisting Arrest in Texas
Resisting arrest is a serious crime in Texas. Since the crime occurs when a person is actively resisting physical control by a police officer prosecutors give these cases more scrutiny. Under Texas law, the elements of the crime of resisting arrest are:
- The defendant intentionally prevents or obstructs a peace officer from effecting an arrest;
- The defendant knows the person being arrested is a peace officer;
- The peace officer was acting under color of the officer’s official authority; and
- The defendant’s conduct was not authorized by law.
Resisting arrest is not an intentional assault on a police officer. That is a more serious offense that is a felony. The crime of resisting arrest usually involves pulling away from an officer who is trying to gain custody of a person or actively physically not complying when officers have put their hands on an individual when making an arrest or search.
Under Texas law, a person may have several legal defenses when resisting arrest. Some possible defenses include:
- Self-defense: If the person being arrested reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary to protect themselves from the officer’s use of excessive force.
- Necessity: If the person being arrested reasonably believed that their actions were necessary to prevent greater harm, such as preventing an imminent crime.
- Lack of intent: If the person being arrested did not intend to resist arrest and their actions were accidental or the result of confusion.
- Illegal arrest: If the arrest itself was illegal, such as if the officer did not have probable cause or a valid warrant.
- False arrest: If the person being arrested was falsely arrested, such as if the officer had the wrong person.
It’s important to note that these defenses must be proven in court, and that the facts and circumstances of each case will be different. Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense that carries a penalty range of one day to one year in jail. Resisting arrest can become a third degree felony if a person uses a deadly weapon to resist an arrest or search.
If you have been charged with the crime of resisting arrest it is important to hire an experienced criminal attorney to represent you through the criminal proceedings.