In Texas, the offense of “resisting arrest” is outlined in the Texas Penal Code. Understanding criminal statutes is crucial, especially for those who might find themselves at odds with law enforcement. Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code relates to resisting arrest, search, or transportation by a peace officer. This law outlines what constitutes resisting arrest charges and the penalties involved. If an individual has been arrested or charged with resisting arrest, it’s important to understand an overview of this law and its various elements and implications.
Resisting Arrest Defense Attorneys in Georgetown, TX
Legal troubles can be overwhelming, but a strong defense can help someone achieve a favorable outcome given the circumstances of the case. The criminal defense attorneys at Price & Twine, PLLC are experienced with defending individuals accused of resisting arrest and other violent crimes. Our firm serves the communities of Georgetown, Round Rock, Liberty Hill, Granger, Leander and throughout Williamson County or “Wilco” Texas. Our firm also represents defendants in Bell County Texas including the communities of Killeen and Temple. Michael Price and James Twine are committed to protecting the rights of their clients and fighting for their interests. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, don’t leave your case to chance. Price & Twine can provide strong criminal defense representation. Contact our firm today at (512) 354-1880 to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Resisting Arrest Information Center
- The Core Elements of Texas Penal Code Section 38.03
- No Defense For Unlawful Arrest Or Search
- Penalties Involved: Class A Misdemeanor Or Felony
- Defenses Based On Texas Penal Code Section 38.03: Resisting Arrest, Search, Or Transportation Charge
Section 38.03 of the Texas Penal Code is quite clear on what actions are considered an offense when it comes to resisting arrest, search, or transportation. According to this law, an individual is said to commit an offense if they intentionally obstruct an individual they know is a peace officer (or someone acting on behalf of the officer) from executing an arrest, search, or transportation. The key elements here are “intentionally” and “using force,” meaning the obstruction must be deliberate, and force must be used against the peace officer or another individual.
An interesting aspect of this law is that it doesn’t matter if the initial arrest or search was unlawful. Section 38.03(b) explicitly states that an individual cannot use the illegality of the arrest or search as a defense. In other words, even if one believes the arrest is not justified, resisting it is still a crime according to Texas law.
When discussing penalties, Section 38.03(c) categorizes the offense as a Class A misdemeanor. However, the law takes it a step further in Section 38.03(d) by stating that if a deadly weapon is used to resist the arrest or search, the offense escalates to a felony of the third degree.
Real-Life Implications: What This Means For Individuals
The real-world implications of Section 38.03 are considerable. An individual found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor could face serious penalties, including jail time and substantial fines. If a deadly weapon is used, the consequences could be even more severe, including a potential prison sentence.
Defenses Based On Texas Penal Code Section 38.03: Resisting Arrest, Search, Or Transportation Charge
Lack Of Intent As A Defense
The first specific defense is questioning the intent. The law explicitly states that the person commits an offense if he “intentionally” obstructs a peace officer. If one can prove that the action was not intentional but rather accidental or out of reflex, this could serve as a viable defense.
Lack Of Knowledge Of Officer’s Identity
Another specific defense might be that the person didn’t know they were obstructing a peace officer. Section 38.03 states that the person has to know that the person they are obstructing is a peace officer or someone acting on behalf of the officer. Therefore, if it can be proven that the individual was not aware that the person was a peace officer, this could be a defense.
Disputing The Use Of Force
The law also states that an offense occurs when force is used against the peace officer or another person. A defense could focus on disputing whether force was actually used as defined under the law. This could be a matter of fact to be decided by the court.
No Defense For Unlawful Arrest: A Notable Exception
While many might think that an unlawful or unjust arrest could serve as a defense, Section 38.03(b) clearly negates this possibility. It states, “It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the arrest or search was unlawful.” Therefore, while one might wish to contest the legality of the initial arrest or search, it cannot be used as a defense against a charge of resisting arrest under this specific statute.
Caveats And Limitations
It’s essential to note that while these defenses could be applicable, they are not guaranteed to succeed. The success of any defense depends on the specific circumstances of the case and how well the defense can be substantiated.
Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Penal Code Section 38.03: Resisting Arrest, Search, Or Transportation
Q. What Constitutes “Resisting Arrest” Under Texas Law?
A. In the context of Section 38.03, “resisting arrest” refers to intentionally preventing or obstructing a person, whom the individual knows is a peace officer or acting on the peace officer’s behalf, from carrying out an arrest, search, or transportation. Force must be used against the peace officer or another person for this statute to apply.
Q. Is It Still An Offense If The Arrest Or Search Was Unlawful?
Å. Yes, Section 38.03(b) makes it clear that the legality of the initial arrest or search is not a defense for resisting arrest. The law states explicitly, “It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the arrest or search was unlawful.”
Q. What Are The Penalties For Resisting Arrest?
A. An offense under this statute is generally classified as a Class A misdemeanor. However, if a deadly weapon is used to resist arrest or search, the charge escalates to a felony of the third degree.
Q. Can Ignorance Of The Officer’s Identity Be A Defense?
A. Section 38.03 specifically states that the individual has to know they are obstructing a peace officer or someone acting in the officer’s presence and direction. If it can be proven that the individual was not aware they were obstructing a peace officer, then this could serve as a potential defense.
Q. What Does “Intentionally” Mean In This Context?
A. The statute indicates that the act of resisting must be “intentional,” implying it is done with a specific purpose to obstruct. If it can be demonstrated that the act was accidental or reflexive rather than intentional, then this could potentially serve as a defense.
Q. Can I Defend Myself By Claiming I Didn’t Use Force?
A. The use of force is an essential element under this statute. If there’s a case to be made that the individual did not use force while resisting, it could be a viable defense. However, what constitutes “force” would be a matter of fact to be determined by the court.
Q. What Should I Do If I’m Charged Under Section 38.03?
A. If one finds themselves charged under Texas Penal Code Section 38.03, consulting qualified criminal defense lawyers is vital. A legal professional can thoroughly examine the specifics of the case and advise on one of the best possible defenses based on the statute and other relevant laws. Understanding the statute and its potential defenses is the first step in mounting an effective legal strategy.
Texas Code – Penal Code – Title 8 – Offenses Against Public Administration – Texas statute on offenses against public administration, including resisting arrest.
Choose a Defense Attorney for Resisting Arrest | Price & Twine, Williamson County, TX
If you’re facing a resisting arrest charge, choosing the right resisting arrest attorney can make all the difference. At Price & Twine, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to providing top-notch criminal defense services to protect your rights and preserve your future. Don’t take the risk of facing potential penalties that could impact your freedom and future. Call Price & Twine, PLLC at (512) 354-1880 to discuss setting up a free consultation to evaluate your case and the reliable legal representation our firm can provide.