Don’t Gamble With Your Future When Facing Resisting Arrest Charges —Consult An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Time is of the essence when dealing with criminal charges concerning resisting arrest. With each passing minute, vital evidence could be lost, and opportunities for building a robust defense might slip away. Cofer & Connelly, PLLC has a team of skilled criminal defense lawyers ready to mobilize quickly on your behalf. Let us provide you with the rigorous representation and informed guidance you need to protect your future. Call us without delay at (512) 991-0576 or schedule a consultation online.
Resisting Arrest: The Basics
If you're someone who might be charged with a crime in Texas, understanding your rights and responsibilities is crucial. One area that can create confusion is the law surrounding resisting arrest, transportation, or search. Many people aren't clear on what constitutes resistance or how the legal process treats this offense. Texas Penal Code Section 38.03 provides a detailed explanation, and the text below aims to break down this law in easy-to-understand terms.
What Constitutes Resisting Arrest, Transportation, Or Search?
According to Texas Penal Code Section 38.03, a person is said to commit an offense if they intentionally prevent or obstruct known police officers from performing an arrest, search, or transportation. This involves using force against the officer or someone else present during the arrest or search.
For example, if a police officer attempts to handcuff you, and you physically struggle to prevent this from happening, you could be criminally charged.
No Defense For Unlawful Arrest
One crucial point is that it doesn't matter if the arrest or search was unlawful to begin with. Section 38.03 specifically states that the legality of the initial arrest or search is not a defense against a charge. In other words, even if you believe that the arrest or search is not warranted, resisting can still lead to a separate charge.
Legal Consequences: Misdemeanor Or Felony?
Most of the time, an offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. However, it can escalate to a third-degree felony if a deadly weapon is used while resisting the arrest or search. A Class A misdemeanor could lead to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. On the other hand, a third-degree felony can result in a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Specific Defenses Against Charges Of Resisting Arrest Under Texas Penal Code Section 38.03
Challenge The Intentionality
Under the statute, the prosecution must prove that you “intentionally” prevented or obstructed the peace officer from effecting an arrest, search, or transportation. If you can demonstrate that your actions were not intentional, for instance, if you were disoriented due to a medical condition or were unaware that the individual was a peace officer, you may have a valid defense.
Challenge The Knowledge Of The Arresting Party As A Peace Officer
Another key element in the statute is that the person must “know” they are obstructing a peace officer. If you did not know the individual was a peace officer because they were not in uniform or did not identify themselves as such, you could challenge the charge on these grounds.
The Use Of Excessive Force By The Officer
While the statute makes clear that the legality of the original arrest or search is not a defense, it doesn't address the issue of excessive force used by the arresting officer. Texas law usually allows an individual to defend themselves against the use of unlawful force. If you can demonstrate that you were resisting due to excessive or illegal force used by the officer, this could serve as a potential defense.
Challenge The Classification Of “Force”
The statute specifies that the offense involves using “force” against the peace officer or another person. What qualifies as “force” can be a matter of interpretation. If you did not use force but merely passively resisted (like going limp), this might offer a potential defense against the charges.
Challenge The Presence Of A Deadly Weapon
The charges elevate from a Class A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony if a deadly weapon is used while resisting arrest or search. If you can prove that no deadly weapon was involved, you could at least aim to have the charge reduced to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries less severe penalties.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Penal Code Section 38.03: Resisting Arrest, Transportation, Or Search
What Does It Mean To “Resist Arrest” According To Section 38.03?
In Texas, you are considered to be resisting arrest if you intentionally prevent or obstruct a known peace officer from carrying out an arrest, search, or transportation, using force against the officer or someone else.
Can I Resist An Unlawful Arrest?
According to Section 38.03(b), it's not a defense to say that the arrest or search was unlawful. Therefore, even if you believe the arrest was without proper grounds, you could still face charges for resisting arrest.
What's The Difference Between A Class A Misdemeanor And A Third-Degree Felony In This Context?
An offense under this statute is usually classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which could lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, if you use a deadly weapon while resisting, the charge becomes a third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Can I Defend Myself If The Officer Uses Excessive Force?
The statute does not specifically address this, but Texas law usually allows individuals to defend themselves against unlawful force. If you can demonstrate that you were resisting due to excessive or illegal force used by the officer, this could serve as a potential defense.
Can I Be Charged If I Didn't Know The Person Was A Peace Officer?
To be charged under this statute, you must knowingly obstruct a person you recognize as a peace officer. If the officer was not in uniform and did not identify themselves, this could be a possible defense.
Does Passive Resistance Count As “Using Force”?
The term “using force” is open to interpretation. Passive resistance like simply going limp is usually not considered using force, although each case is different, and you may still be arrested for other offenses like failure to comply with a lawful order.
Can I Face Multiple Charges Related To The Same Incident?
Yes, you can face multiple charges depending on the circumstances. For example, if you're initially being arrested for a DUI and resist arrest, you could be charged for both the DUI and for resisting arrest under Section 38.03.
The Time To Consult Resisting Arrest Lawyers Is Now If You Have Been Charged With Resisting Arrest
Understanding Texas Penal Code Section 38.03 is vital if you find yourself in a situation where resisting arrest, transportation, or search might be a concern. However, it's always recommended to consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in Texas law to navigate the complexities of your specific case.
TX Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Fight Your Resisting Arrest Charge
In a world where legal challenges can upend your life, it's crucial to have a skilled professional in your corner. Cofer & Connelly, PLLC focuses on criminal defense, providing tailored legal solutions for those facing criminal charges in TX. Every case is unique, and our criminal defense lawyers are committed to approaching yours with the attention and precision it deserves. There's too much at stake to leave your future in inexperienced hands. Contact us today by dialing (512) 991-0576 or connect with us online to schedule an in-depth consultation about your case.