Being faced with the prospect of arrest can be extremely daunting. Occasionally, the reaction of individuals may be to flee the scene. However, such actions could result in being charged with a criminal offense.
The crime of resisting arrest is outlined in 18.8.103 (1) C.R.S. which states that a person commits the offense of resisting if they prevent or attempt to prevent a peace officer, acting under color of his official authority, from effecting the arrest of the actor or another. The statute goes on further to explain that resisting arrest requires the use of or threat of physical force or any other means which create a risk of bodily injury to the officer.
Officers must be on duty at the time
Crucially, resisting arrest cannot occur if the officer was not in uniform, or failed to verify themselves as a peace officer. Furthermore, the officer must be “acting in the color of their official authority” at the time of the arrest. For example, evading the efforts of an off duty officer who was acting in the capacity of a security guard at the time would not amount to resisting arrest.
Are resisting charges dropped if the initial arrest was unlawful?
The crime of resisting arrest will be treated as completely separate from the initially alleged offense. Therefore, even if the initial arrest was unlawful, the resisting charge may not be dropped, unless the officer was using excessive force or acting in a manner which gave rise to no other option than self-defense.
The consequences of a resisting arrest charge can be serious. Resisting that involves violence could potentially be classified as assault, which can result in significant jail time.
Understanding the law in relation to resisting arrest could be in your best interests. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to know that you have legal rights.