Resisting Arrest – What Behavior Applies?

In some states, resisting arrest can occur when a citizen shows signs of arguing with the officer. Most jurisdictions will consider physical force against a law enforcement officer as resisting arrest. Depending on the behavior exhibited by an individual, and as defined by state statutes, the charges of resisting arrest may be a misdemeanor or felony.

Violence at the Arrest

Many cases of resisting arrest end with police officers engaging in violent behavior because the target of the arrest is violent as well. When this happens, officers may even draw taser guns, tranquilizers or standard-issue guns to take down the other person. The charges of resisting arrest add to the charges issued at the time of the arrest. The individual may also suffer injury through the actions of the officers at the scene. These injuries may go untreated if they are not serious. The person may also not have a valid case against the officers unless the entire situation was unlawful.

Running Away

While a person does not need to act aggressively to resist arrest, he or she usually must do something for valid charges to stick. One way to accomplish this is to run away from the officers at the scene and either lead them on a chase or run away and act in a violent manner. The general act of running away usually also increases the thought that this person is guilty of some type of illegal activity. Jurors can look at the resisting arrest situation as reasonable suspicion of guilt if the officers read the charges before the person started running away.

Threats to the Officer

Some states view any type of violent threats to the officer or about the situation as resisting arrest. These threats often occur during an argument between the individual and the cop at the scene. Many times, the argument stems from the possibility of arrest or when the officer will question the person about something related to an investigation. Sometimes, there is an implication that the individual has some connection to the crime rather than knowing about the illegal activity. This can create anger or resentment with law enforcement and lead to violent threats.

Impeding the Officer

Others states will use the factor of impeding an investigation or the officer as resisting arrest. This can even occur when the officer was not at the scene to arrest the person. If there is no connection to illegal activity, the individual may still impede the officer or the investigation and end with charges for resisting arrest. The impeding action can occur in a number of ways that can include video recording the officer in action, getting in the way or protecting someone under suspicion of committing a crime. An arrest is possible when these activities occur.

Not Initial Arrest

Sometimes a person can face charges for resisting arrest even if the officer was not going to arrest the person initially. These charges can occur when the person is in the way of the cop from performing his or her duties. The individual can also impede the movements or activities of the cops in some manner. The initial lack of an arrest can later lead to one if the person becomes a problem for the officers at the scene. By keeping the cops away from the necessary area or the person they are seeking, the individual can face resisting arrest charges.

Proving Elements in the Case

The prosecuting lawyer attached to the case must prove certain elements such as the person willfully resisted arrest in some way such as fleeing the scene or becoming aggressive. This lawyer must also prove that the individual acted in some way against the officer that could include violence, threats or the use of a weapon. The officer must also lack the ability to perform duties at the time because he or she was engaging with the individual or was not able to get to a certain area or person. When all necessary elements exist or evidence is present to substitute one element for something similar, the prosecuting lawyer will have a valid argument and a compelling case.

Legal Support for Resisting Arrest at the Scene

The individual facing resisting arrest charges often will need to contact the lawyer immediately to determine what type of defense is possible. The lawyer will assess the situation and analyze the case materials to determine what defensive strategy to employ. With a legitimate argument against the charges, the lawyer will protect his or her client.
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