Have you been arrested for resisting arrest in Indiana?
Our client was arrested for beating his sister and breaking her arm. While being arrested he allegedly resisted arrest and the police officer broke his arm in the process. At trial, even though the officer and multiple other officers and witnesses testified that our client resisted and battered the officer, our client was found not guilty of battery on the officer (a Level 5 felony) and was also found not guilty of resisting arrest. He was also found not guilty of Level 5 felony battery on his sister for good measure. It was a most unlikely outcome. How did it happen? Experience and quick thinking while on our feet at trial. Particularly a moment in the cross-examination of the police officer. A powerful closing statement plus strategic lawyering also put the client in the position to win the case.
Resisting Law Enforcement (RLE) is a common charge. Many lawyers back down at the thought of having to defend a client against the words of a police officer. However, by taking depositions, watching video and making the right legal arguments, we may be able to win even the most difficult cases. We can’t guarantee that you will win an RLE case if you are ever charged because it is difficult. However, experience matters and so does a willingness to go to trial if the right offer is not made to resolve the case. If you are accused of RLE you may be in an uphill battle, but with the right team and the right defense you may find yourself surprised at the outcome. Contact The Criminal Defense Team at (317) 687-8326 to speak to a law firm that has several Board Certified* attorneys and is not afraid to back down from a fight.
What Is a Resisting Arrest Charge and How Does it Occur?
A Resisting Arrest Charge, also known as Resisting Law Enforcement (RLE), occurs when someone does one or more of the following:
- Flees a law enforcement officer (LEO) while being arrested
- Assaults a LEO while being arrested
- Threatens a LEO while being arrested
- Struggles to free themselves while being arrested
- Presents false information to a LEO while being arrested (i.e., a fake id)
In Indiana, an RLE charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. The defining difference between the level of the crime is the use of a motor vehicle or a weapon. If someone attempts to flee a LEO on foot during an arrest, the crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor, but if the same person attempts to flee in a vehicle or draws a weapon at the time of arrest, the crime is elevated to a felony.
If the person being arrested then uses a vehicle or weapon to cause bodily injury while resisting, the level of felony increases along with the penalties. If the person injured during the attempt to flee is a LEO or medical services provider doing their official duty, the penalties climb even higher.
RLE charges are common when someone being arrested doesn’t follow instructions or addresses the arresting officer disrespectfully. Some law enforcement officers will tack on an RLE charge just because they don’t like an individual’s attitude.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for My RLE Charge?
Attempting to beat an RLE charge without the help of an experienced defense attorney is inadvisable at best and downright foolish at worst. There are several reasons for this.
Representing yourself before a judge and prosecutor signals to the court that you’re not taking your arrest seriously. It lets them know that you don’t intend to mount a serious defense and gives them the chance to take advantage of your inexperience by convincing you that a guilty plea is your best and only option, even if you have clear evidence that you didn’t commit the crime.
A good attorney can help you in ways you may not realize. We are more than a source of legal knowledge. We are your advocate in court, your confidant, and your support during this trying ordeal. We will not judge you for your arrest. We can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help you avoid novice mistakes that may make things worse for you.
In most cases, an RLE conviction depends on the testimony of the arresting LEO. It’s their word against yours, and those can be tough odds to face. A good attorney can better your chances by conducting a full investigation into the arrest and gathering evidence, testimony, and documentation to support your record of events.
An arrest with an RLE charge added on can be an emotionally taxing occurrence. You may have feelings of embarrassment, anger, frustration, anxiety, or depression. An attorney can help relieve your burden by doing all the work necessary to build your case, giving you the time to process the trauma and move on with your life.
An RLE conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. A prosecutor may try to convince you that a guilty plea isn’t that impactful, but an arrest record can hurt your chances for employment, higher education, getting a driver’s license, or in the worst case, end in significant jail time. A qualified attorney will do everything they can to help you avoid a conviction.
Why Hire The Criminal Defense Team to Represent Me?
Simply put, we’re one of the most qualified legal defense firms in Indiana. We have a wealth of experience and legal knowledge that we use to help our clients fight charges of all kinds, from disturbing the peace to manslaughter. We know how to make the law in Indiana work for our clients’ needs.
Since 2007, we’ve helped thousands of Indiana residents avoid criminal convictions. We have over 120 years of combined legal experience across our team, with a variety of different capacities and strengths from which to draw to build comprehensive defensive strategies for you.
Of the 15,000 attorneys in Indiana, only six can claim the title of Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist from the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Five of those six attorneys work for The Criminal Defense Team. We are literally experts in the field of criminal law.
Our credentials mean nothing if we’re not successful, and we’re proud to say our clients choose us because we get the positive outcomes they need. Head to our Testimonials page to hear from past satisfied clients.
Steps to Take After an RLE Charge
If you’ve just been charged with resisting arrest, here are some steps you can take immediately to start building your case and protect your rights:
- Stay calm. If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, this may sound like too little too late, but it’s never too late to change your attitude. Remember that law enforcement officers have a job to do and that no amount of negotiating, bartering, or reasoning will change what’s happened. Take a deep breath, remain calm, and be patient. Your time to speak up will come.
- Remember the details. As soon as you’re able, try to create a record of the events before, during, and after the arrest. Record a video, take notes, do anything you must to create a solid record while the events are still fresh in your mind.
- Get witness contact information. If possible, get the contact information of anyone that witnessed the arrest. You never know when an eyewitness may provide a single piece of exculpatory evidence that means the difference between a dropped charge and jail time.
- Don’t talk about it. This applies to the time of the arrest and the time after as well. Anything you say can be used against you in court, and even your friends can be called to testify under oath, so don’t discuss the arrest with anyone other than your attorney. Avoid posting on social media about it as well.
- Get legal counsel. As soon as you can after an arrest, retain an attorney for your defense. They will discuss your options with you.
What Does an Arrest Investigation Look Like?
When you’re charged with an RLE, the police and prosecutor may not need to conduct an investigation as they have the evidence they need: the testimony of the arresting officer. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, your attorney may need to conduct their own investigation to look for evidence or testimony that challenges the LEO’s memory of events.
This investigation usually involves speaking to witnesses or examining documentation pertaining to the arrest. The witnesses can be eyewitnesses to the event that have their own record of how things transpired or expert witnesses called to testify on your behalf. Documentation can include police reports, arrest records, medical records, video or audio surveillance, or any document that sheds light on the events leading to the arrest.
Possible Defenses to an RLE Charge
Here are some possible defensive strategies we might employ to help you avoid a conviction:
- Self-defense against excessive force. We may be able to avoid a conviction by arguing that the LEO used excessive force during the arrest and that you were only defending yourself.
- Lack of intent. The basis of this defense is that you simply didn’t intend to resist. This might apply, for example, if the officer doesn’t state they are arresting you and simply reached for your arm to handcuff you, and you pulled away.
- Lack of knowledge. We may be able to argue that you didn’t know the person subduing you was a law enforcement officer.
- Argument or criticism. Some LEOs will use any unkind word as an excuse to add an RLE charge. We may be able to avoid a conviction by arguing that you were arguing or criticizing the arresting officer, not actually resisting.
- Unlawful arrest. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to argue that the arrest itself was without a warrant or probable cause and thus unlawful.
Penalties for RLE Charges in Indiana
The penalties for RLE charges in Indiana vary depending on the circumstances. They run from a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of up to $5,000 up to a Level 2 felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, don’t wait any longer. Let the attorneys at The Criminal Defense Team review your case and help you craft the best possible defense. Call (317) 687-8326 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will discuss all your legal options with you even if you don’t choose us to represent you, and the consultation is absolutely free, so you have nothing to lose. Don’t let a resisting arrest conviction affect your future. Call today.