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Resisting Arrest

In Washington, Resisting Arrest is a serious matter. The crime is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine, and can leave someone with a criminal record. Often “resisting arrest” is the result of a misunderstanding, or due to poor treatment by the arresting authorities. It is important to have an experienced defense lawyer to assist you in your case. Mr. Graham has 25 year experience, and is a former prosecuting attorney. Call our firm to learn how we can help you.resisting arrest lawyer

Resisting Arrest Definition:

By law, Resisting Arrest is defined as intentionally trying to prevent a law enforcement officer from arresting you. Additionally, it must be shown that the arrest was lawful. A citizen is entitled to resist an unlawful arrest as long as he or she does not use undue force against the officer in the process.

The behavior that constitutes “resisting” can vary greatly from case to case. Sometimes it is alleged that a person being arrested lies limp. Other times it is alleged that a person refuses to bring his hands behind his back or tries to wrestle with the officer. Sometimes the behavior is ongoing, and an individual refuses to get into a police car or braces himself with his feet when the police attempt to place him in the back of the car. As anyone arrested can attest to, the police are often none too gentle when making an arrest. People are often roughly grabbed and manhandled to start with and this doesn’t exactly invite cooperation from the arrestee. When a person comes into our office to discuss such an instance, we usually suggest that they document all injuries they sustained.

Often the charge of resisting arrest is joined with other charges such as Assault 3rd Degree (i.e. assault of a law enforcement officer), and obstructing a law enforcement officer. It is typically not double jeopardy to charge multiple offenses as long there are separate and distinct criminal acts to support or substantiate each count.

In defending such charges at our office, our criminal lawyers will often subpoena any body camera footage, and attempt to locate independent witnesses.

In the resisting arrest statute, the definition of who constitutes a “law enforcement officer” or “peace officer” is pretty broad. The definition includes local police, federal agents, Tribal police officers, and even off-duty police officers working in the capacity of private security. The statute does not include civilian employees, mall security, or individuals effecting a citizen’s arrest even if lawfully conducted.

It is important for police to identify themselves, and it is a defense to the crime if an arrestee doesn’t know the identity of the officers. Sometimes in certain circumstances, such as a sting operation, the police will spring out of hiding and surprise an individual who they will end up arresting. If someone arrested is so out of their mind due to drugs or alcohol that they are unaware that they are dealing with law enforcement, that is a defense under Washington’s voluntary intoxication statute.

If you want to discuss your ressiting arrest charge, please feel free to give us a call.