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Resisting Arrest Charges in Texas: Definition, Regulations, Consequences

Ben Michael

Getting arrested by law enforcement officers is a stressful experience for most people, while for others, it can be downright panic inducing. Police officers must follow the proper protocol for making arrests, but if you behave in a way that’s construed as Resisting Arrest, additional charges can be leveled against you, even if you believe you haven’t commited a crime.

We’ve put this resource together to help you understand the proper arrest regulations expected from law enforcement officers, Resisting Arrest as it is defined in the Texas Penal Code, and the consequences of Resisting Arrest charges in Texas.

Resisting Arrest in the Texas Penal Code

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if they use force to intentionally obstruct or prevent a law enforcement officer from:

  • Completing an arrest,
  • Carrying out a search, or
  • Transporting a suspect

The Texas Penal Code makes it clear that “it is no defense to prosecution under this section that the arrest or search was unlawful.” In other words, even if you know that you—or the person being arrested—have not committed a crime, you must not interfere, obstruct, or stop law enforcement officers from carrying out their duty.

For a successful prosecution, the defendant must be found guilty of using force to obstruct an officer. Examples of this include physically pulling an officer away from a person suspected of a crime.

Texas Proper Arrest Regulations

Just as citizens are expected to comply during a search or arrest, all Texas law enforcement officers are bound by rules and regulations. For an arrest to be lawful, the law enforcement officer must have:

  • Observed a crime take place;
  • Have probable cause to suspect the defendant of a crime;
  • Found a person in a suspicious place and under circumstances that reasonably show that said person has been—or is about to be—involved in a crime; or
  • The officer has an arrest warrant.

Furthermore, officers may not use excessive force beyond what is necessary to protect themselves while they are bringing a suspect into custody. 

The Penal Code states that it is a defense to prosecution if the defendant takes or attempts to take a weapon from a peace officer who was using force beyond the amount of force permitted by law.

Failure of Proper Arrest Regulations in Texas

If a person is arrested or searched without probable cause, a warrant, or evidence, this could be a violation of proper arrest regulations. In such a case, the arrest is unlawful.

But whether an arrest is lawful or not will not affect the outcome of Resisting Arrest charges. In other words, you can still be charged with Resisting Arrest, even if it is found later that the arrest itself was unlawful.

When it comes to Resisting Arrest charges, the best thing you can do is avoid getting them in the first place. Remain calm when approached by law enforcement officers and comply by following any directions given. Once you have been arrested, request a call to your attorney.

Consequences of Resisting Arrest in Texas

In Texas, Resisting Arrest is a class A misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Fines of up to $4,000

If a lethal weapon was used while Resisting Arrest, the charge would be considered a felony of the third degree. Penalties include:

  • Up to 10 years in jail
  • Fines of up to $10,000

Remember, these charges will be stacked on top of any original charges that resulted in the original arrest. But, even if the original arrest is found to be unlawful, and those charges dropped against you, you will still face penalties for Resisting Arrest.

Both a third-degree felony and a class A misdemeanor are serious criminal convictions in Texas, with collateral damage that goes beyond the years spent behind bars and the monetary cost. If you, or someone you love, have been charged with Resisting Arrest, speak to an experienced attorney about your options.

The Best Strategy if Charged with Resisting Arrest

If you have been charged with resisting arrest, it is imperative that you begin working on building a good defense case immediately. Possible defenses against resisting arrest charges include:

  • The defendant acted in self-defense – in the case of the officer using excessive force
  • Officer used excessive force
  • Defendant did not use force
  • The officer did not identify themselves as a peace officer at the time of the arrest

Even in the above circumstances, care must be taken to build a strong defense case that cannot be dismissed during trial. Your freedom and reputation are on the line, so don’t waste time. Get a free case review with Michael and Associates today and start building a strong defense case.

Ben Michael

Ben has vast experience in defending criminal cases ranging from DWIs to assault, drug possession, and many more. He has countless criminal charges dismissed and pled down. Among many other awards, one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Texas and winner of Top 40 under 40.

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