Being charged with resisting arrest in Texas can cause all kinds of problems in addition to any other criminal charges you may be facing. However, it’s possible for a person to be charged with resisting arrest even when they had no intention of doing so. Below, we will discuss some common defenses against unfair accusations of resisting arrest in Houston, Texas.
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What Constitutes Resisting Arrest in Texas?
According to Texas state law (Title 8, Section 38.03), the crime of resisting arrest occurs when a person “intentionally prevents or obstructs a person he knows is a peace officer or a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction from effecting an arrest, search, or transportation of the actor or another by using force against the peace officer or another.”
Several actions can be considered resisting arrest in Texas, including:
- Threatening an officer
- Providing false identification
- Running away
- Struggling with the officer
- Helping another person avoid arrest
It is no defense to claim that the arrest or search was unlawful.
What Are the Penalties If Convicted of Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction could result in a $4,000 fine and/or up to 1 year in county jail. However, the charges can be bumped up to a felony of the third degree if the accused uses a deadly weapon to resist the arrest or search. You could be facing fines of up to $10,000 and two to ten years in state prison.
Is Failure to Identify or Evading Arrest the Same As Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest involves the use of force. Evading arrest is an attempt to evade arrest rather than physically resist. Failure to identify occurs when a person intentionally refuses to give their name, residence address, or date of birth to law enforcement at the time of a stop or search or intentionally provides false information.
Possible Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Texas
If law enforcement made a mistake when they charged you with resisting arrest, don’t give up without a fight! Depending on the circumstances, there may be many defenses against resisting arrest charges. The first thing you need to do is speak with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney.
If you live in the Harris County area, that attorney would be Lisa Shapiro Strauss. Lisa is a former county DA turned Bellaire, TX criminal defense lawyer. Her unique background gives her insights into how the prosecution will try to get their conviction and how to effectively defend her clients against their charges. Here are a few of the defenses against resisting arrest charges in Texas:
Defenses #1: Lack of Intent to Resist
In order to get their conviction, the prosecutor must prove to the jury that a defendant intentionally resisted arrest. An example of lack of intent to resist arrest can include resisting arrest because an officer failed to identify themselves.
Defenses #2: Self-Defense Against the Use of Excessive Force
In certain circumstances, self-defense can be used as a defense against resisting arrest charges. According to state law, (Title 2, Chapter 9, Subsection 3) use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:
- If, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and
- When and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.
Defenses Against Resisting Arrest #3: Lack of Probable Cause for the Arrest
Lack of probable cause for an arrest can also be used as a defense in a resisting arrest case. In Texas, police can only make an arrest when they have observed a crime taking place, have probable cause to suspect that a person committed a crime, or have an arrest warrant.
To show probable cause, the arresting officer must produce some tangible evidence that they believed the defendant was committing a criminal act. If the defense can establish that there was no probable cause for the stop or search that led to your arrest, the charges against you could be dropped, including resisting arrest charges.
Speak With Houston, TX Criminal Defense Attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss
In Houston, resisting arrest, providing false information and evading arrest are all serious crimes. A conviction can complicate your life in many ways. In addition to jail time, fines, and probation, the conviction will remain on your permanent record, potentially making it difficult to find a job or attend the school of your choice.
If you’ve been arrested for resisting arrest in Houston, TX, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your rights. Contact the law office of Lisa Shapiro Strauss as soon as possible after your arrest. Call (713) 429-7310 to schedule a free initial consultation.