Everyone has seen this incident play out: a man standing idly by and not doing anything of note when the police walk up and arrest him. The man continues to stand there, surprised and alarmed, when an officer tries to put him in handcuffs. Suddenly, he is on the ground with several officers holding him down and handcuffing him. He’s charged with, among other things, resisting arrest.
What happened that caused the police to use such force on him? Resisting arrest can be dangerous for the police and everyone else around, which is why they move quickly and forcefully to subdue suspects. However, this can be a confusing point in most cases since it is not entirely clear what constitutes resisting arrest. Here’s what you need to know about what constitutes “resisting arrest” in Dalton, GA.
Resisting arrest is a crime where someone tries to stop officers from arresting them. For example, a motorcyclist hears police yell, “You’re under arrest,” while running toward him, and the biker takes off at high speed. A more prevalent example would be fighting back when offers try to put handcuffs on a suspect. Essentially, any action that could be considered trying to stop an arrest by the person being arrested could lead to a resisting arrest charge.
There are several forms of resisting arrest under Georgia law. Each one follows the same vein of trying to stop an arrest or escape before an arrest is complete; they just focus on different means of resisting.
If you are involved in a DUI, then you are obligated to stay at the scene of the crime until the police arrive. Leaving before then means that you are fleeing the scene and could be charged with resisting arrest.
When the police do arrive and give you instructions, they are the equivalent of being ordered to do something within reason. Refusing to do as the police tell you to do if you are required to do those things can lead to a resisting arrest charge since you are making it harder for the police to resolve the situation.
When the police make it clear that you are being detained or arrested, trying to leave after that point is also considered a form of fleeing the scene. This is less likely to happen but is often the situation when the police make headlines regarding incidents during arrests. Attempted escapes almost always result in the use of force and can lead to injuries and additional charges.
How Should the Police Respond?
In a case where the suspect resists arrest, the police often need to use some measure of force to complete the arrest. While this is allowed, that force must be proportional to the situation.
For example, the police can chase you and try to stop you or use a Taser, but they cannot use a firearm unless there is a direct threat of harm to themselves or others.
Regardless, you should not flee the scene. It invites the use of force and can lead to injuries and more charges to deal with. It also means that you are putting others at risk by rushing away from the scene of an accident. It is better to follow through with the correct after-accident process and deal with any issues in court.
Being charged with a crime is bad enough, but being charged with resisting arrest, too, is worse. Don’t put yourself in that position if you can avoid it. If you are already being charged with a crime and resisting arrest, consult with a Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Legal help can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Don’t hesitate to contact Joshua J. Smith, Attorney at Law, by calling us at (706) 217-2095 or filling out our contact form.