You’ve committed no crime, but you’re being arrested. Or you’re with someone who is being arrested, and you’re taken to jail along with them despite your innocence. You inform the officer that you’re innocent, but you’re taken to jail anyway. What now?
Whatever you do, don’t resist any arrest, even an unlawful arrest, or you’ll be charged with it.
What It Is
North Carolina considers nearly anything that causes a problem for an on-duty police officer to be part of North Carolina General Statutes, Article 30, Section § 14-223 that states:
“If any person shall willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”
This means not only resisting your own arrest, but interfering with a police officer doing another arrest or otherwise doing his job.
The statute is intentionally broad as well as vague, covering a wide range of activity that interferes with a police officer doing his job. That also increases your chance of an arrest due to resisting, delaying or obstructing a police officer (RDO) by giving the officer flexibility in what he or she can arrest an individual for.
Types Of Resisting Arrest
Most people think of resisting arrest as the individual who, upon discovering he or she is targeted, runs from the police. Officers also have a certain leeway with using force, and will do so if they believe they are being threatened.
But other actions, like raising your arms in a defensive stance or instinctively moving out of the way can also be interpreted by the police officer as “physical resistance,” even if you meant no harm and were not fleeing.
Resistance can also take a non physical form. Actions such as:
- Refusing to accept a ticket
- Giving false information, such as name and address
- Using abusive language
- Otherwise slowing down an officer to prevent him from doing his job
Can also see you charged with “resisting arrest.”
Conviction For Resisting Arrest
If you are convicted of RDO, you’ll be facing:
- Up to three months in jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
- A probation sentencing to include counseling and regular meetings
- A community service requirement
Additionally, you’ll have a record of conviction that will stay on your record, and inhibit your ability to apply for jobs, professional licenses, college and student aid, and other things.
But What If I’m Innocent?
Even if you are innocent and can prove you’re a victim of wrongful arrest in court, it’s best not to resist because you’ll have an additional charge. This means that you may be acquitted of the first charge, but still convicted of the second. Avoid that second charge by not resisting arrest or interfering with a police officer.
Possible defenses against RDO include:
- Self-defense against an officer who was using unreasonable force against you
- An unlawful arrest, without probable cause or a warrant
- Argue and prove that the charges are false
- NC has no “stop and identify rule.” Unless you are operating a motor vehicle, you are not required to give the police any information, and can politely refuse the officer’s request
If you are charged with resisting arrest, an experienced criminal defense attorney can defend you in court to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Charged With Resisting Arrest? Contact Raleigh’s Criminal Defense Attorney
Dewey P. Brinkley is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC. Before working as a defense attorney, he was a Wake County Assistant District Attorney. He understands the criminal justice system, and can handle resisting arrest as well as other criminal charges.
Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your criminal defense case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at email@example.com, or use our online contact form