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Charges for resisting arrest aren’t always for attempting escape

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2019 | Criminal Defense

“You’ll never take me alive, Coppers!” That’s the classic James Cagney, old mobster impersonation many of us might think back to when considering what it means to resist an arrest.

But, charges for resisting arrest in the state of North Carolina aren’t always pressed for car chases or other fleeing defendants. This offense could also count in the following ways.

Delaying or obstructing a police officer

North Carolina law vaguely prohibits any person from willfully resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. These terms are not explicitly defined, but it’s notable to understand that delaying or obstructing an officer may include behaviors other than physically fleeing or fighting law enforcement.

Delaying an officer could include any unnecessary behavior that prolongs the arrest. Similarly, obstructing an officer could refer to physically blocking the officer, attempting to prevent the arrest or otherwise deliberately making the arrest difficult for the officer to carry out.

For example, handcuffing yourself to your car after being pulled over could be considered resisting arrest, even though you are not trying to leave the scene or assault an officer.

Charges for resisting arrest can result in a Class 2 misdemeanor, even if the defendant is not convicted for the crime he or she was arrested for. Since a Class 2 misdemeanor can carry a penalty of up to 60 days in county jail and a fine up to $1,000, it’s important for people to understand these charges.

When you’re not even being arrested

This statute also prohibits anyone from resisting, delaying or obstruction law enforcement officers while they perform their duties as a police officer. That means you could face these charges for deliberately getting in a police officer’s way while he or she is in pursuit of arresting someone else.

Another example could be if you argue with a police officer who gives you orders to move your location in the interest of public safety or another issue related to their duty as a police officer.

What to do when you disagree with an arrest

If you are being arrested and do not agree with the charges or the way the arrest is conducted, it’s best to stay completely compliant with the police’s orders.

Afterword, if you believe your civil rights have been violated, you can defend yourself by acquiring representation and presenting your case in court. Otherwise, in North Carolina, your actions could likely warrant charges for resisting arrest.