What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove in a Felony Resisting Arrest Case?
When a person interferes or attempts to interfere with a law enforcement officer’s ability to perform a lawful arrest, it’s known as resisting arrest. Depending on the severity of the accused person’s actions, this could be classified either as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Resisting arrest may take many different forms. It often involves suspects running away from, hiding from, or fighting with the officers attempting to make an arrest. Providing false information, threatening officers or assisting another person resisting arrest may also result in criminal charges.
The burden of proof is greater in felony resisting arrest cases than in misdemeanor cases. To secure a guilty verdict in a felony resisting arrest case in Georgia, the prosecutor must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant purposefully obstructed or resisted a law enforcement officer, acting purposefully in a manner that hindered the officer’s ability to make the arrest.
- The defendant acted in a violent manner toward the officer, or threatened to do so. Striking a police officer or even threatening to do so would fulfill this requirement.
- The police officer was discharging his duties in a lawful manner in the performance of his official job duties.
Because the burden of proof is relatively high in these cases, defendants and their attorneys may use a variety of tactics to push back against the charges. The most common strategy is to claim that the arrest itself was unlawful, so the officer had no reason to detain the defendant in the first place.
Defendants may also argue that they were acting in self-defense and that the officer was using excessive or unnecessary force during the arrest. If you were not acting aggressively and an officer threatened your safety, you may claim that your actions to protect yourself were reasonable.
In other cases, officers may overreact to rude or argumentative conduct on the part of the suspect, but that does not meet the description of resisting arrest. Talking back to an officer typically does not result in a charge of resisting arrest.
To learn more about your rights when being placed under arrest, meet with a skilled Georgia criminal defense attorney at James D. Michael, P.C. Call us at 404-857-4059 or contact us online to speak with our legal team.