Olsinski Law Firm team

Resisting Arrest

Dedicated North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys Committed to the Defense of Clients Charged With Preventing a Lawful Arrest

While most criminal charges involve some level of discretion on the part of law enforcement, police officers have almost unfettered discretion when deciding to charge you with resisting arrest. As a result, it is not uncommon to face resisting arrest charges despite having no intention of preventing law enforcement from effectuating a lawful arrest. Given the seriousness of these charges, it is imperative that you work with an experienced Charlotte resisting arrest attorney who is prepared to do what it takes to defend your name, your rights, and your future.

At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of Charlotte criminal defense lawyers with extensive experience representing clients charged with resisting arrest. We’re familiar with the best defenses to resisting arrest, including challenging the arresting officer’s credibility. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you defend against the charges you’re facing.

What is Resisting Arrest in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, resisting arrest is a crime that involves opposing or challenging the authority of law enforcement officers as they attempt to perform their lawful duties. This offense can take various forms, ranging from physical resistance to mere noncompliance with an officer's commands.

Resisting arrest, under North Carolina law, is broadly defined to include not only physical acts of resistance against an officer but also any action that obstructs a law enforcement officer’s work. This can include running away from an officer, providing false information, or physically struggling during an arrest. The statute covers resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer in the execution of any legal duty.

To convict you of resisting arrest, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you willfully and unlawfully resisted, delayed, or obstructed a public officer. Key elements include the officer’s lawful duty at the time of the incident, your knowledge of the officer’s status, and your intentional actions to resist, delay, or obstruct the officer.

Often, resisting arrest is charged alongside other offenses. For example, if you are being arrested for a separate misdemeanor or felony and you resist, you could face charges for both the underlying offense and for resisting arrest. This can significantly increase the severity of the penalties you face.

What is the Punishment for a Resisting Arrest Conviction?

Under North Carolina General Statutes § 14-223, resisting arrest is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. Thus, the penalties for a conviction can include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment. Specifically, the maximum jail time for a Class 2 misdemeanor is up to 60 days for a first offense, but this can increase to up to 150 days, depending on your prior criminal record.

Can You Resist an Unlawful Arrest?

No. North Carolina is unique in that the state’s resisting arrest law is so broad that it covers resisting an unlawful arrest. Thus, even if police officers are attempting to effectuate an unlawful arrest, resisting the arrest could lead to criminal charges. However, this is far from a bright-line rule, as courts have been willing to entertain the idea that it is not against the law to resist the use of excessive force, although you cannot commit an assault when doing so.

What Are the Defenses to Resisting Arrest?

Defenses against a charge of resisting arrest often involve questioning whether the officer was performing a lawful duty, whether you were aware that the person was a law enforcement officer, or whether your actions constituted actual resistance, delay, or obstruction. In some cases, it can be argued that the officer’s actions were not lawful, such as in situations where excessive force was used.

Have You Been Arrested for Resisting Arrest in Charlotte?

If you were recently arrested and charged with resisting arrest, reach out to the dedicated Charlotte criminal defense lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate assistance. At our firm, we take pride in defending our clients’ rights and keeping the power of law enforcement officers in check. Our lawyers are familiar with all the best defenses to resisting arrest charges and know what it takes to secure the best possible outcome in even the toughest cases. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 704-405-2850, or connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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