What It Means to Resist Arrest in Texas
You have no doubt heard the term resisting arrest, but you may not be aware of what it actually means to resist arrest or of the legal nuances involved. Having a better understanding of what it means to resist arrest can help you protect your rights and avoid being charged with resisting arrest in the first place.
Rules Guide Both Sides
Police officers are required to follow specific rules, regulations, and restrictions when it comes to making arrests. Additionally, there are laws that guide how the public is required to comply. If the officer who arrests you fails to do so within the parameters of the law, it can be a compelling defense for the charge of resisting arrest (and could support a civil suit).
The Rules for Texas Police
For a Texas police officer to make an arrest, it must be under one of the following circumstances:
A judge must have issued an arrest warrant to the officer.
The police officer must have probable cause for believing that the individual in question committed a crime before making the arrest.
The officer must have witnessed the person commit a crime firsthand before arresting him or her.
If one of the above pertains, the arresting officer can move forward with the arrest, but he or she is required to do so with the minimum amount of force required, which means without using unnecessary or excessive force. The more combative the arrestee, the greater the officer’s right to protect himself or herself (while balancing the need to protect the arrestee from being harmed in the process).
You Have No Right to Resist Arrest
Even if you are certain that the police officer has no legal right to arrest you, you do not have the right to resist the arrest. In fact, you can be charged with resisting arrest if you attempt to stop a police officer from making an arrest period – even if he or she is arresting someone other than yourself. In other words, if you attempt to insert yourself into the middle of someone else’s arrest, you could face a charge of resisting arrest. This is true regardless of whether the police officer in question was making a lawful arrest to begin with or not.
Your Best Course of Action
The best course of action to take if you are stopped by the police includes the following steps:
You should maintain a respectful tone.
You are only required to provide the police with basic information regarding your identity, and you should limit yourself to this.
If you are arrested, you should cooperate with the officer.
Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon after being charged as you are able to do so.