Southaven, MS Resisting Arrest Attorney
Under Mississippi code §97-9-73, it is unlawful for a person to obstruct or resist by force, violence or threats a lawful arrest—or the lawful arrest of another person—by any state, local or federal law enforcement officer. A misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest can include such actions as running from a police officer or hiding from a police officer. A felony charge for resisting arrest will usually include a threat to act in a violent manner towards a police officer or an actual violent act against a police officer who is attempting to arrest a person.
Unfortunately, far too often, police officers may use the charge of resisting arrest for virtually any type of behavior which annoys the officer. In fact, basically any type of obstruction or opposition to a law enforcement officer can result in a charge of resisting arrest. Officers are given fairly wide discretion in these charges, and, in some cases, a person who failed to get out of an automobile quickly enough when ordered by a police officer could be charged with resisting arrest, even if that person was merely flustered or nervous and was not attempting to resist an officer.
In general, being slow to comply with an order from a police officer, being rude or sarcastic, or questioning the police officer’s actions or authority prior to complying with a request is not enough to warrant Southaven, MS resisting arrest charges. If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Southaven, MS, it is important that you have an aggressive attorney from The Stroud Law Firm by your side to defend your charges.
What Must Be Proven in Southaven, MS Resisting Arrest Charges?
The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements in order to uphold a Southaven, MS resisting arrest charge:
- You deliberately resisted a law enforcement officer or that you deliberately obstructed a law enforcement officer. Even if you did not intend the result your actions caused, if you deliberately or intentionally acted in a manner which hindered your arrest, the prosecutor may be able to prove the case against you.
- You acted in a violent manner toward the police officer or threatened to act in a violent manner. As an example, perhaps you threatened to hit the officer or you actually hit or pushed the officer.
- The police officer was lawfully carrying out his or her official duties. As an example, the officer may have been investigating a crime or making a traffic stop. Even when it is later proven that the wrong person was arrested, if the underlying charges against you were dropped, or if you are acquitted at trial, it may still be determined the police officer was acting in a lawful manner.
Defenses to Southaven, MS Resisting Arrest Charges
There are a number of defenses your Southaven, MS criminal defense attorney may use on your behalf. While your defense will be specifically tailored to the circumstances surrounding your charges, some of the more common defenses to resisting arrest charges include:
- Self-defense. You are allowed to defend yourself against a police officer who is using excessive force. Police officers are only allowed to use the amount of force necessary to accomplish the arrest. If a police officer acted violently, with no justification, you are allowed to protect yourself. You are not, however, allowed to resist arrest until the police officer has used excessive force or acted in a violent manner. In other words, your response must be reasonable, given the circumstances.
- Unlawful arrest. If you did nothing wrong, and the arrest was not lawful to begin with, your attorney may be able to assert that since the officer was not performing his or her lawful duties (since there is no duty to make an unlawful arrest), that even if you did resist, you did nothing wrong. As an example, if a police officer is making an unlawful search of your home, you may have the right to resist an arrest.
- Falsely accused of resisting arrest. If you did nothing worse than be rude or sarcastic to the officer, and the resisting arrest charges were in retaliation, this may be your defense, providing you can prove you were not actually resisting. If there were witnesses who can attest you were not resisting arrest, your attorney may be able to have the charges dropped completely.
- The police officer failed to identify himself or herself as a police officer. If you were unaware the person was a police officer, and that person did not identify himself or herself as such, you could not intentionally resist the officer. An example would be an undercover officer who failed to identify himself or herself as a police officer.
The Stroud Law Firm Can Help Defend Your Southaven, MS Charges of Resisting Arrest
Despite the fact that resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Mississippi, you could face a fine as large as $500 and up to six months in county jail (or both), if convicted of the offense. The attorneys at The Stroud Law Firm have defended many people who have been charged with resisting arrest. We understand the laws which govern those charges, and will work hard, on your behalf, to minimize the potential consequences. We understand that you may have done nothing more than question the officer’s right to arrest you, and that the resisting arrest charges against you could be uncalled for. For a solid defense and an attorney who will protect your rights from start to finish, call The Stroud Law Firm at (662) 536-5656.