No one likes being arrested. You may not even agree with the reason you’ve been given as the basis for your arrest. However, you must comply with the police when you are being arrested.
Failure to do so can result in charges of resisting arrest, which can complicate any criminal proceedings against you in court.
Here’s what you need to know about resisting arrest in Colorado, your rights under the law, and how to defend yourself against this charge.
What Does It Mean to Resist Arrest in Colorado?
In Colorado, you can be charged with resisting arrest if you attempt to prevent or knowingly prevent the police from arresting you by:
- Threatening to use or using force or violence against them
- Using any means that create a risk of causing harm to the officer or another person
If you are charged with resisting arrest, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
What Are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest?
The penalties associated with resisting arrest in Colorado include up to one year in jail (with a three-month minimum sentence) and fines of up to $1,000.
If this is your first offense, then the judge may choose to waive jail time. This is a great reason to secure an attorney to represent you on these charges.
They may able to negotiate this with the court on your behalf by bringing in your lack of a criminal record to the attention of the court.
How to Defend Yourself Against Resisting Arrest Charges
If you are charged with resisting arrest, you have the right to defend yourself in court against them. There are some defense strategies that are commonly used. Learn more about two of them here — excessive force and lack of identification.
The Officer Used Excessive Force
If you believe the arresting officer used unreasonable and excessive force against you when you were arrested, then that can provide a case on your behalf that the resisting arrest you’re being charged with was actually self-defense.
The Officer Wasn’t Identifiable
If the officers that arrested you didn’t identify themselves or weren’t in uniform, then that can make a good defense as well. After all, if you didn’t know they were the police and you were being officially placed under arrest, you couldn’t have knowingly resisted that arrest.
What About Unlawful Arrest?
Even if the arrest against you was unlawful, that’s not a good defense for resisting arrest. Even in cases of unlawful arrest, that doesn’t negate the fact that you are obligated to cooperate with the arrest and save your objections for the proper time in front of the judge.
The only cases where unlawful arrest can be used is when the officer was not acting in their official capacity, you were acting in the defense of another person, or excessive force was used.
If you believe one of these to be a part of your case, then discuss it with your attorney so they can decide how to present the information to the court.
Being arrested is no one’s idea of a good time, but it’s important to remember that with the exception of a few rare instances, you must make sure you cooperate with police in order not to have this charge tacked on to any other charges for which you were being arrested.
Know your rights and what you are entitled to, but don’t go overboard only to get into more legal trouble. You’ll have your opportunity to address the facts in court.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.