For every arrest that’s made by a police officer, there is a certain protocol that must be followed and when a person interferes in anyway with the arrest, they are breaking the law.
When most people hear the term resisting arrest, an aggressive and even violent scenario comes to mind, where the person being arrested tries to pull away or even attacks the arresting officer. However, there is more than one way to resist arrest in Missouri. Resisting arrest in Missouri or interfering with law enforcement in anyway is cause enough for a person to be charged with either of the these offenses.
If you have been charged with resisting arrest or interfering with law enforcement, you need to know what you’re up against. In addition to what acts violate these laws and their corresponding criminal penalties, this article will provide general legal advice for resisting arrest from an experienced criminal attorney in Missouri. Resisting arrest is a crime that immediately puts the courts against you, because of this it is of the utmost importance that you get legal assistance from an attorney in Missouri. Defending yourself alone, is not a smart idea if you’re being charged with resisting arrest/interfering with law enforcement.
Understanding Missouri’s Resisting Arrest Laws
As previously mentioned, oftentimes when a person thinks of resisting arrest they think of physical or violent contact with an officer in order to avoid arrest. However, other examples of resisting arrest in Springfield, MO include running away from an officer after he or she has ordered you to stop or fleeing a scene, as is the case of many car chases. The crime of resisting arrest applies to any and all arrests, stops and/or detentions for any violation of the law. This includes offenses, infractions, and ordinance violations.
Under Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 575.150,
A person commits the crime of resisting or interfering with arrest by any of the following:
- Threatening or using violence of physical force
- Interfering with the arrest or stop
- Fleeing from an officer
In order for someone to be convicted of this charge, there must be evidence that shows:
- The person who was being arrested knew that the person was making an arrest and/or lawfully detained or stopping a person or vehicle
- The person in question acted with intent to prevent or interfere with the arrest being performed by the officer.
Anytime an individual resists arrest or interferes with an arrest, they will be facing some significant criminal penalties. If a person is convicted of resisting arrest in Springfield, MO, they may face the following penalties:
- Resisting or interfering with arrest for a misdemeanor – This will be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail, with potential fines at $2,500.
- Resisting or interfering with arrest for a felony – This is charged as a Class D Felony by itself and is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and fines up to $25,000
It should be noted that unlawful arrest is not a defense strategy for resisting arrest in Missouri. You will be charged with the crime or resisting arrest in Missouri even if the underlying infraction was an unlawful arrest.
Resisting Arrest in Missouri Defense Strategies
Upon receiving the charge of resisting arrest, the first thing you must to is find an attorney in Missouri that you trust. Just like all other offenses, even if you’ve been charged with the crime this does not mean you are inherently guilty. Retaining the services of an attorney who is well versed in resisting arrest laws in Springfield, MO is your only chance of mitigating the charges against you. Keep in mind, that your attorney’s job will not only be to defend the charges for which you were first arrested, but they must also defend against the unpopular crime of resisting arrest in Missouri.
The attorney that you choose to represent you, will need to understand everything about the case in order to defend you to the best of his or her ability. While every case is different and various factors can impact the outcome and the defense strategy your attorney decides to proceed with, the following are some general defense strategies that are commonly used to fight against resisting or interfering with arrest in Missouri:
- The officer didn’t identify his or herself – If at the time of the attempted arrest you were unaware that the person was an officer, you may be able to use that to your advantage. It’s impossible to intentionally resist arrest from a person that you don’t know is an officer. According to attorneys.com, an example of this would be an officer who is undercover and does not identify themselves as police officer.
- Self Defense – In the United States, a person has a right to defend themselves against police misconduct. If an officer uses excessive force against you, you can defend yourself. However, if the officer’s force was in response to resistance from you, the self-defense claim goes away.
- False Allegations – This defense strategy is a way of proving that nothing you did warranted the resisting arrest charge in Missouri. For example, if you were just being rude to the police officer or saying sarcastic things, this does not equal a resisting arrest charge. This defense strategy is particularly helpful if there were other witnesses around that can prove you did nothing to constitute this particular charge.
If you or a loved one are facing charges of resisting or interfering with an arrest, you need to act fast. Many attorneys will offer free, no-obligation consultations in order for you both to see if the partnership is a good fit. Try narrowing down your search for attorneys who live in the Springfield, MO area and have experience with the courts in which your case will be held. Additionally, if your lawyer knows the prosecuting attorney on your case, he or she may be able to skillfully negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or even remove the charges and criminal penalties you’re facing.
Your lawyer will be able to examine your case and glean the strengths and weaknesses from the facts in order to create a solid defense strategy.
If you’re ready to speak with an attorney about your case, contact Missouri Legal today, for a free consultation.