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Criminal charges

resisting arrest

The criminal offense of resisting arrest—also known as resisting a peace officer—occurs when a person uses any amount of physical force to resist, delay, or obstruct a police officer during an arrest. The resistance that gives rise to a criminal offense may be slight and includes (1) struggling with police officers as they try to place handcuffs on a person and (2) giving police a false name during questioning.

Resisting arrest laws vary from state to state—in California, for example, the law includes delaying or obstructing an emergency medical technician. Resisting arrest is usually a misdemeanor offense. Resisting arrest laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.

In Texas, the criminal offense of resisting arrest is codified under Texas Penal Code Section 38.03. It is defined as intentionally preventing or obstructing a person he or she knows is a peace officer or a person acting in a peace officer's presence and at his direction from effectuating an arrest, search, or transportation by using force against the peace officer or another. This includes actions such as struggling during handcuffing or providing false information during questioning. Resisting arrest in Texas is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $4,000, jail time up to one year, or both. However, if a deadly weapon is used to resist the arrest or search, the offense is elevated to a third-degree felony, which carries stiffer penalties including a potential prison sentence. It's important to note that the specifics of the charge and the associated penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the incident and the individual's criminal history.

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