Charged With Resisting Arrest? Here’s What You Need to Know
Resisting arrest is a serious charge, but if your first instinct is to flee the scene of a crime, you’re not the only one — even if you are innocent. Unfortunately, even a person who was innocent of a crime can be found guilty for resisting arrest.
In truth, resisting or avoiding arrest only makes the situation worse for you. Even if you didn’t realize you were resisting arrest at the time it happened, you could face serious charges that leave you facing very real consequences.
What Is Resisting Arrest?
Many people don’t realize there are several ways to resist arrest, both physical and nonphysical.
Resisting arrest does not mean fighting a police officer when they attempt to arrest you. Other behaviors can also constitute resisting. For instance, if you know that a police officer is trying to apprehend you, you may be convicted of resisting arrest if you bolt, forcing him or her to chase after you.
You may also be charged if you push a police officer or otherwise physically assault an officer. Physical assault may also come with additional charges.
What many people do not know is that you can be charged with resisting arrest if you mislead an officer to evade arrest or provide false information. For instance, you are required to give your name and other identifying information to a police officer. If you do not, you are resisting arrest.
Keep in mind that you do still have the right to remain silent when you are arrested. You must identify yourself, but other than that, you are not forced to answer questions about the accusations against you.
What Are the Charges?
If you are charged with resisting arrest, you may face a Class 2 misdemeanor. A misdemeanor charge typically means that the most severe consequence is up to one year in jail, as opposed to a felony which could lead to a much longer prison sentence.
The fines for resisting arrest may begin at $1,000. Keep in mind that these fines may not include court costs, filing fees, and the cost of hiring an attorney.
If found guilty, you may spend some time in jail. Other punishments could include probation or community service. The judge will determine your sentence based on factors like criminal history and intentions.
How Do You Defend Against the Charges?
Fortunately, a criminal defense attorney can defend you against charges of resistance. Your criminal defense attorney may advise that you use one of these defenses as part of your court case or plea bargain, depending on available evidence.
First, you can claim that the charges against you are false, the result of false accusations. Perhaps the officer misinterpreted your actions or confused you with somebody else. Body cameras and dash cameras may shed light on your case.
Self-defense may also be a defense for resisting arrest. Perhaps you didn’t know that you were under arrest and only felt somebody harming you, or perhaps the arrest was not lawful and you were protecting yourself. While this defense is not always successful, your criminal defense attorney can work with you to determine if you have a strong case.
In order to craft a defense for charges of resisting arrest, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney understands North Carolina’s laws and can provide you with the best steps to move forward.
Carl L Britt, Jr, offers criminal defense services in Cumberland County. When you need legal help, you can count on us. Call our office today to learn more about North Carolina laws and resisting arrest.