Dealing with a criminal charge may not have been in your plans. In fact, you may have considered yourself someone who always tried to do the right thing and did not go out of your way to make unnecessary trouble. However, when the time came to question the unseemly actions of another person, you likely did not hesitate to do so. Unfortunately, you may have questioned the wrong person and ended up facing a criminal charge.
This type of scenario may seem unlikely, but it could happen. You could potentially face charges for resisting arrest if an officer believes that you have impeded his or her actions. Additionally, an arrest does not first have to be in progress before you could face an allegation of resisting. As a result, you could feel shocked to have such accusations brought against you.
In some cases, officers may use their own discretion to determine whether someone was resisting. If they believe that you are being intentionally uncooperative or providing incorrect information in order to make an arrest more difficult, they could charge you with resisting arrest or possibly with obstruction of justice. Because discretion could come into play, you may not feel that you have done anything wrong, but an officer may view the situation differently.
Of course, even with the margin for discretion, the court cannot simply convict you of resisting without certain elements being present. Three elements that would need proving in such a case include:
- You knew or should have known that the person you resisted was a member of law enforcement.
- You intentionally resisted.
- The officer carried out his or her duties within the parameters of the law.
If you feel that an officer did not perform his or her duties in a lawful manner and that factor led to your intervening, you may have the ability to use that information as part of your defense against the allegations.
If you do face a conviction for resisting arrest, the punishments could range in severity. For a misdemeanor charge, you could face up to a year in jail and monetary fines. For a felony charge, you could face up to three years in prison as well as monetary fines.
Of course, as with any criminal charge, you have the right to defend against allegations of resisting arrest. Information on your defense options, the charges themselves and other related topics may help you better understand your predicament and how to go about effectively handling your case.