A resisting arrest charge is a frightening experience. Yet, many people are baffled at how they landed in the situation in the first place. Many law enforcement officers are unfounded when they charge individuals with resisting arrest, leaving the defendant scrambling to mount a strong defense. Here’s what you need to know about fighting resisting arrest charges.
Swearing or Being Belligerent is NOT Resisting Arrest
Although it’s never a good idea to swear at or be belligerent with a law enforcement officer, it’s not considered resisting arrest — even though a number of people are charged for just that. The best course of action during an arrest is to remain silent and calm. However, cursing or being upset about an arrest isn’t against the law.
What Is Resisting Arrest?
California law describes what is legally considered resisting arrest:
- Physically acting in a way that prevents the officer from arresting you, such as hiding, struggling, or running away
- Making actual threats to the law enforcement officer who is arresting you
- Presenting a false ID or otherwise providing false identification to a law enforcement officer
- Aiding someone else in resisting arrest
How to Defend Against Resisting Arrest
There are a number of clever defenses that can be used against resisting arrest charges, including but not limited to:
- Self defense. This is one of the most common resisting arrest defenses. If you are being beaten or physically mistreated by a law enforcement officer, you may protect yourself. The officer will likely charge you with resisting, but you can fight this in court with evidence showing police brutality, such as the officer’s dash cam.
- You were not lawfully arrested. If the arresting officer had no lawful right to arrest you in the first place, you may be able to use this as a defense to have the charges of resisting thrown out of court. You cannot be convicted of resisting arrest if the arrest itself wasn’t lawful in the first place.
- You did not know, nor should you have known, that the person detaining you was a law enforcement officer. In order to make an arrest, an officer must clearly identify him or herself. However in some cases, especially with officers in unmarked vehicles who do not wear a uniform, there may be confusion. You can’t be convicted of resisting a police officer if you legitimately did not know the person was a police officer.
Let Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense help if you’ve been charged with resisting arrest. Call 909-689-4292.