Resisting & Evading Arrest

Resisting Arrest in Austin, Texas

Nobody wants to be arrested, but struggling, or running away from an arrest can result in more criminal charge with even more severe consequences than perhaps the original reason for arrest. Under Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code, it is illegal to intentionally use force to prevent or obstruct that you know is a peace officer from making an arrest, conducting a search or transporting you. It is also a violation of the law if the person against whom you use force is in the presence of a peace officer and acting under the peace officer's direction. For purposes of the statute, it does not matter whether the arrest or search was legal. You are still prohibited from using force to impede the officer.

Examples of resisting arrest include: if you are struggling with a police officer who was attempting to handcuff you, or if you run away or fight against being put in a cop car. Unfortunately, this is an extremely subjective type of criminal charge and can often fall into areas of gray. For example, resisting arrest charges do not take into consideration instances where excessive force was used by a police officer or situations where the defendant did not recognize them to be police. In these cases, wrongful accusations can be made and compounded on top of preexisting criminal charges. Additionally, because the statute requires intent, you can always assert that your actions were either reckless or negligent. You may further argue that you reasonably believed that the person was someone other than a peace officer.

Punishment Range for Resisting Arrest
Should an individual be criminally charged with restating arrest, they will be facing a Class A misdemeanor - this carries with it fines up to $4,000, as well as a prison term for up to a year. If the resistance was done with a deadly weapon, the offense is considered to be a third degree felony and carries a prison sentence from two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000. For this reason, if you are facing charges for resisting arrest, it is highly recommended that you find an experienced Austin criminal attorney to help protect your legal rights.

Sec. 38.03. RESISTING ARREST, SEARCH, OR TRANSPORTATION. (a) A person commits an offense if he 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.

(b) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the arrest or search was unlawful.

(c) Except as provided in Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if the actor uses a deadly weapon to resist the arrest or search.