Resisting arrest is a serious federal offense that is punishable by up to eight years in prison. Unfortunately, many defendants are charged with this offense unfairly. In fact, some are actually victims of the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. To speak with an attorney who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed, please contact a member of our white collar crime legal team today.
The Element of Force
Resisting arrest is a charge that is commonly levied against defendants by prosecutors. However, before a person can actually be convicted of this offense, prosecutors must be able to prove that the defendant used force while resisting arrest. Although whether this requirement is satisfied depends on the specific circumstances of a case, courts have stated that a threat is enough to satisfy the statute. As long as the threat reasonably caused a federal officer to anticipate bodily harm during the arrest, this requirement will be satisfied. When evaluating the seriousness of a threat, courts look at a series of factors, including whether:
- The person had the apparent and present ability to execute it;
- The threat was accompanied by menacing gestures; or
- The defendant was in hostile company or threatening circumstances.
Even if this requirement is satisfied, prosecutors must still provide evidence that:
- The defendant created a substantial risk of bodily injury to the officer; or
- The defendant’s actions justified the use of substantial force by the officer to overcome his or her resistance.
These types of analyses are extremely fact specific, making it especially important for those who have been charged with this offense, to retain an attorney who will thoroughly investigate the case and is equipped to advocate aggressively on their behalf.
The Consequences of Conviction
Resisting arrest is generally treated as a misdemeanor offense, which, although less serious than a felony, could still mean imprisonment for up to one year. However, if prosecutors allege that a defendant made physical contact with the officer while resisting arrest or was intending to commit another felony at the time, a defendant could face an eight year prison sentence if convicted. A defendant’s sentence could also be increased if there is evidence that he or she used a deadly or dangerous weapon while resisting arrest, or inflicted bodily injury on the officer. It’s important to keep in mind that dangerous weapons are not limited to firearms and knives, but could also include more innocuous items, as long as they could inflict injury. In fact, even completely harmless objects can qualify as dangerous weapons if they closely resemble a dangerous instrument or the defendant used the object in such a way that the officer thought the object was a weapon.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
If you have been charged with resisting arrest or otherwise impeding a federal officer in the fulfillment of his or her duties, please call 305-670-9919 to schedule a free case evaluation with experienced Miami federal crimes attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Our legal team can assist you today.