How can you defend yourself when charged with resisting an arrest?

| Oct 13, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The answer to the question of whether or not you should resist can be very complex. According to South Carolina law, resisting arrest is defined as deliberately avoiding arrest by a law enforcement officer.

Resisting an arrest is treated as a misdemeanor offense. However, the charge can be updated to a felony offense if the suspect intentionally injures or assaults the officer while executing an arrest. 

So what amounts to resisting arrest in South Carolina?

The law that makes resisting arrest a crime in South Carolina is quite broad and vague. Resisting arrest can include both physical as well as non-physical actions such as:

  • Fleeing the arresting officer
  • Fighting the arresting officer
  • Raising hands defensively during arrest
  • Refusing the take a traffic ticket
  • Engaging in actions that slow or prevent the police from doing their job
  • Acting in an abusive manner

When you are charged with resisting an arrest, there are many ways to defend yourself in court. Here are some of them: 

When acting in self-defense

Law enforcement officers are entitled to use necessary force when executing an arrest. However, if the arresting officer is acting violently and unjustifiably, the arrestee may protect themselves and resist their arrest. For instance, the arrestee has the right to fight back if the arresting officer unjustifiably attempts to shoot them. 

It is important to note that the arrested individual cannot act violently unless the arresting officer does so first. Also, the arrestee must exercise utmost self-restraint, only using reasonable and necessary force while resisting the arrest. 

When an arrest is unlawful

Any arrest that is not authorized by law, such as an arrest without a probable cause or warrant, is deemed unlawful. In South Carolina, the law allows you to apply reasonable force to resist an unlawful arrest. 

You can be charged with resisting arrest if you act in a manner that obstructs the police from doing their work. This is a misdemeanor whose penalty can range from fines to jail time. Besides, a conviction will permanently remain in your criminal record. 


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