Resisting Arrest Charge in Texas: What You Need to Know

Regardless of whether you were guilty of the underlying charge that prompted the attempted apprehension, resisting arrest is a serious charge in Texas.  You can face a significant fine and jail time.  An experienced criminal attorney can help you minimize the impact that this charge has on your life.

Although you may feel like you were charged inappropriately and therefore were justified in protesting the arrest, it does not matter if you were innocent.  If you resisted arrest and were charged with a crime, you may be facing a serious fight.  However, there are many instances of Texas police officers acting aggressively in serving an arrest warrant because there is a presumption of guilt in the minds of most peace officers; therefore, you should contact an attorney because there may be cause for a reduction or dismissal of the charge.

Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code regulates the charges of resisting arrest.  In Texas, resisting arrest involves an action by an individual who prevents or obstructs the ability of a law enforcement officer, or any individual acting under the authority of that law enforcement officer from:

  • Effectuating an arrest;
  • Carrying out a search; or
  • Transporting a person accused of a crime.

The action of resisting arrest must include the use of force and may be in response to an attempt by peace officers to arrest the person charged or another individual.  The circumstances that could lead to a resisting arrest charge include fighting against the attempt of a peace officer to place handcuffs on a person, refusing to get into a vehicle, running away from the arresting officers, or fighting against being placed in a jail cell.

A person facing an indictment of resisting arrest most likely will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which entails a fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail.  However, this charge will be upgraded to a third-degree felony if the individual actively resisting makes use of a firearm or other deadly weapon in the resistance.  Under these circumstances, the accused could face a jail term of two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.

There are defenses that can be asserted in a case of resisting arrest:

  • The peace officers used excessive force;
  • The accused did not use actual force to resist;
  • The law enforcement personnel did not identify themselves as peace officers (this is different from the accused not recognizing them as such);
  • The alleged actor acted recklessly or negligently in responding to the attempts of the peace officers to arrest him, rather than with the intent necessary to satisfy the statutory requirements of resisting arrest; or
  • The prosecutor did not meet his burden of proof as there were inaccuracies in the state’s evidence, false testimony was given, or evidence was not presented to prove the accusation beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are many different arguments to be made in order to get the charged reduced or dismissed, but it is critical to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Charges like this hinge on witness statements and an examination into the history of the officers involved in the arrest, so it is important to provide sufficient time to adequately investigate all the facts surrounding the incident.

For additional information, or if you are facing a charge of resisting arrest, it is important to work with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer to help you enforce your rights.  For more than thirty years, our firm has successfully defended thousands of individuals dealing with all types of criminal related offenses.   If you would like to speak to Mr. Pettit about your case, contact our firm today by calling 214-521-4567.  We accept most major credit cards and provide bilingual services in Spanish.


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