How to Get Resisting Arrest Charge Dropped
Facing charges for resisting arrest can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. A conviction for resisting arrest can have long-lasting consequences, including a criminal record that can impact an individual’s future opportunities and relationships with law enforcement. However, it is essential to know that there are ways to challenge and potentially get a resisting arrest charge dropped. In this legal blog post, we will explore some ways individuals can get a resisting arrest charge dropped.
We will cover key topics, including legal defenses, evidence, and other strategies. By understanding your legal rights and options, you can take proactive steps to protect your future. You may also potentially get a resisting arrest charge dropped.
Understanding Resisting Arrest Charges
Resisting arrest is a criminal offense in North Carolina that can result in significant penalties, including fines and jail time. If you face charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences you may face.
What is Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest is any action that prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from lawfully arresting or detaining an individual. This can include:
- Physical resistance
- Verbal or nonverbal resistance
- Attempting to flee from an officer who is attempting to arrest you
In North Carolina, passively resisting arrest is generally a Class 2 misdemeanor. (1) With a conviction, you can face up to 60 days in jail, along with fines and court fees. (2)
What If I Resist Without Violence?
Even if you resist arrest “non-violently,” it does not necessarily mean that a prosecutor will dismiss your charges. Resisting arrest is a crime in North Carolina. The mere act of resisting, even without using physical force, can result in charges against you.
However, the level of force an individual uses can be a factor in determining the severity of the charges and potential penalties. If an individual resists arrest in a non-violent manner, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or sentence.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help evaluate the arrest circumstances and determine whether any legal defenses can challenge the charges.
What is Felony vs. Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest?
In North Carolina, resisting arrest charges can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Felony resisting arrest typically involves using force or violence against a law enforcement officer during an arrest. This can include pushing, shoving, striking an officer, or using a weapon or dangerous instrument to resist the arrest. Felony resisting arrest is a serious offense with significant penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years.
According to NC Statute § 14-223, you can face Class I felony charges if you willfully and unlawfully:
- Resist a public officer in discharging an official duty and cause a serious injury to the officer
- Delay a public officer in discharging an official duty and cause a serious injury to the officer
- Obstruct a public officer in discharging an official duty and cause a serious injury to the officer
If you cause “serious bodily injury,” you face Class F felony charges. “Serious bodily injury” is causing the officer to suffer one or more of the following:
- Substantial risk of death
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Permanent or protracted condition that causes extreme pain
- Permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
- Injuries resulting in prolonged hospitalization.
On the other hand, misdemeanor resisting arrest generally involves non-violent resistance. Non-violent resistance can include:
- Refusing to comply with an officer’s commands
- Pulling away from an officer
- Verbally protesting the arrest
Misdemeanor resisting arrest carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you face charges for resisting arrest, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop a strong defense strategy.
Evidence Used to Support a Dismissal
If you face charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, there are several defense strategies that you and your attorney can use to fight the charges and potentially see them dismissed. Some of these strategies may include:
Lack of Probable Cause
If the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, any resistance on your part may have been justified. Your attorney can argue that the officer lacked the necessary legal justification to detain you, which could result in seeing the charges dismissed.
Self-Defense Against Excessive Force
If the arresting officer used excessive force during the arrest, you may have been justified in resisting. Under North Carolina law, individuals have the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves from an officer’s excessive use of force.
However, it is essential to note that you can only use this defense if the officer used excessive force and you reasonably believed you were in danger.
If an officer wrongly identified you as the suspect in a crime, you may have resisted arrest out of confusion or fear. Your attorney can argue that you did not realize that the officer was lawfully trying to detain you.
Self-Defense: If you resisted arrest because you believed that the officer was using unreasonable force, you may have acted in self-defense. Your attorney can argue that you were acting to protect yourself and had no intention of resisting arrest.
Other Defenses To Resisting Arrest
Police Officer Fails to Identify Themselves
When a police officer fails to identify themselves when making an arrest in North Carolina, it can create confusion and potentially violate an individual’s constitutional rights. Under North Carolina law, law enforcement officers must identify themselves and state their purpose when making an arrest. Failure to do so can result in an unlawful arrest.
However, it is essential to note that there may be situations where an officer’s failure to identify themselves is justified, such as when there is an immediate threat to public safety. If you believe that you experienced an unlawful arrest due to an officer’s failure to identify themselves, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
An attorney can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help determine whether any constitutional violations have occurred.
Lack of Knowledge
In North Carolina, lack of knowledge is generally not a defense against resisting arrest. When a law enforcement officer is lawfully attempting to make an arrest, the individual facing arrest must legally comply with the officer’s commands, regardless of their level of knowledge about the situation.
Even if an individual is unaware of the reasons for their arrest, they must still submit to the arrest and can face charges for resisting arrest if they attempt to resist.
However, there may be situations where an individual’s lack of knowledge is relevant to the case. For example, if an officer uses excessive force during an arrest, an individual’s lack of knowledge about the situation may be relevant in determining whether their resistance was justified.
If you are facing charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options and develop a strong defense.
Lack of Evidence or the Inability to Face Your Accuser
Lack of evidence or the inability to face your accuser are not valid reasons to resist arrest in North Carolina. When a law enforcement officer is lawfully attempting to make an arrest, the individual facing arrest must comply with the officer’s commands, regardless of whether they believe the evidence is lacking or they cannot face their accuser. Resisting arrest in these situations can result in additional charges and penalties.
However, it is essential to note an individual’s protections and ability to challenge the evidence against them or face their accuser through the trial process. If an individual believes that the evidence against them is lacking or they cannot face their accuser, they can raise these concerns through legal means.
If you are facing charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, it is imperative to speak with an attorney who can help you understand your legal options and develop a strong defense.
Impact of a Resisting Arrest Charge
Beyond the consequences mentioned above in misdemeanor and felony resisting arrest charges, a conviction for resisting arrest can have long-lasting consequences, including a criminal record. A record can impact employment opportunities, housing, and other aspects of your life.
A conviction for resisting arrest can also damage your relationship with law enforcement and make future interactions with police more difficult.
In some cases, resisting arrest can also result in additional charges, such as assault on a law enforcement officer, which can carry even more severe penalties. If you are facing charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, it is vital to take the charges seriously and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options under North Carolina law.
How a Skilled Defense Attorney Can Help
If you face charges for resisting arrest in North Carolina, Scharff Law can help you find the most effective legal strategies for your charges and reduce the chance of potential consequences. We have successfully defended many people facing resisting arrest charges in North Carolina.
Our focus is helping you find your way through a judicial system that does not care what happens to you. Get in touch today and start finding solutions for facing your charges successfully!
Working with our experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense and protect your rights as you move forward with your life!