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Resisting arrest is a very serious charge which can have major consequences. In Los Angeles, the charge of resisting arrest can lead to fines of up to $1000 and or up to a year’s imprisonment. Additional court costs bring the final amount paid well over the stated cost of the fine.
Worst of all, an arrest and conviction for resisting arrest remains on on your criminal record. This charge will be seen by every police officer who runs your name in the future. This charge will be seen by potential employers when they perform background checks on you. This charge will be seen by landlords who look into your history when deciding whether or not to rent to you. One simple charge can lead to a lifetime of explaining yourself.
It is important to know that while the vast majority of police officers are attempting to perform their duties professionally, some readily abuse their power. Additionally, all police officers are human beings; any one of them can make a mistake or have an off day. If you let it, that off day can have a terrible impact on the rest of your life.
The problem with the charge of resisting arrest is that it’s a nebulous one. Depending on the judgement of the arresting officer, anything you do could be considered resisting arrest.
This includes actions like:
Moving too fast
Moving too slow
Not moving when told to
Not complying with an order (even if you didn’t hear it)
Pulling away when grabbed by an officer
In a tense situation and under pressure, even the the best police officer can make an error in judgement. Their error could be one that you’ll pay for for the rest of your life. A good lawyer can defend you from a resisting arrest conviction and spare you from years of frustration.
Although it may seem like the arresting officer is always right, things are never so cut and dry with the law. Your attorney will review the facts of your case and develop a defense for you. Possible defenses against the charge of resisting arrest can include:
Police officer’s failure to identify himself. Resisting arrest can only occur if you know that you are being lawfully arrested by someone with the legal power to do so. When officers fail to identify themselves, it is legal to defend yourself.
Police misconduct. If the arresting officer is engaged in wrongful or abusive activity, they cannot legally arrest you as a consequence of this activity.
Untrue statements by the arresting officer. Some police officers use the charge of resisting arrest as a way to punish people for legal activity. Being sarcastic to an officer or defending your legal rights is not a cause for arrest.
These examples are just some of the reasons that a resisting arrest charge may be found to be unjustified. Successfully fighting the police is a significant task; even when they’re wrong. The police and prosecutors will try to pressure you into doing what they say. Don’t agree to anything until you have the opportunity to review your options with a qualified attorney.