Dallas County Attorney Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Charges of Resisting and Evading Arrest

A person charged with resisting or evading arrest is usually facing serious criminal charges. First, he or she has the underlying charge and then, the additional charge of resisting or evading arrest. Although most people are familiar with the notion of “resisting arrest”, most are not clear on exactly what the crime entails. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions Dallas County residents have about resisting or evading arrest:

What does it mean to “resist arrest”?

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with resisting arrest if he or she through the use of force, tries to prevent or obstruct a peace officer from making an arrest, or a search.

What sorts of actions constitute resisting arrest?

Since the definition of “resisting arrest” is quite broad, there are many actions that can result in a person being charged with the crime, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Physical fighting against an officer of the law when he or she attempts to place him or her in handcuffs;
  • Striking or pushing an officer of the law;
  • Struggling when an officer of the law attempts to place him or her in a police car or jail cell; and
  • Acting violently or threatening violence against an officer of the law (with or without the use of a weapon).

What penalties does a person charged with resisting arrest face?

In most instances of resisting arrest, the person will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. However, if the person used a deadly weapon in his or her attempts to resist arrest, or in some way injures the arresting officer, he or she is most likely facing a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by fines up to $10,000 and between two and ten years in prison.

Are there any defenses to a charge of resisting arrest?

Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the person may have defenses to the charges. A good criminal defense attorney will examine the facts of an individual’s case to determine what defenses if any, he or she may have. The attorney will look to see if his or her client realize at the time of the arrest that the person arresting him or her, was in fact a peace officer. The attorney will also look to see if the peace officer used excessive force when making the arrest.

How is resisting arrest different from evading arrest?

A person evades arrest when he or she purposely takes off from a person he or she knows is an officer of the law, who is attempting to legally detain or arrest him or her. Most often evading arrest is a Class B misdemeanor, but if the person uses a motor vehicle in his or her attempts to flee, the person could be charged with a State Jail Felony. Also, if a person is killed when the person is trying to escape, the person could be charged with a 2nd degree felony.

If you have been arrested and charged with resisting arrest, it is important that you understand your rights. Only an experienced Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney can review the charges against you and determine your best course of action. For more than 30 years Attorney Jack Pettit has provided aggressive representation for clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony criminal charges. As a former prosecutor, attorney Jack Pettit can provide you with the skilled legal representation you need when facing criminal charges. To schedule a free and confidential consultation contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.



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