Resisting Arrest Charges in Colorado

Resisting Arrest Charges Are Often Defensible

Charges for resisting arrest in Colorado are often defensible if the person charged can gather the names and contact information of witnesses. Generally, we see these charges in Jefferson County and other counties when people are drinking and can't understand why they are being arrested. They will move around or otherwise try and prevent the officer from putting handcuffs on them. We sometimes see this charge when Denver County, Colorado, police officers want to stop a witness to police misconduct from testifying in another case (see our blog for an example). When there are no witnesses and only one police officer is involved, the charges are still defensible, but it can be an uphill battle. If more than one officer is present, it becomes a difficult case to defend without nonpolice witnesses who will testify on your behalf. This charge is similar in many respects to obstructing a peace officer.

The Elements the Government Needs to Prove

First, let's look at common elements of this charge under C.R.S. 18-8-103: 1) knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent, 2) a peace officer, 3) acting under color of his or her authority, 4) from effecting an arrest, 5) by using or threatening physical force or violence against the officer, or 6) by using any other means that creates a substantial risk of causing bodily injury (pain) to the officer or another.

Even if the arrest was unlawful, you still can't resist, provided the officer is not using excessive force. If the officer is using excessive or unreasonable force, then you can exercise an affirmative defense called self-defense at trial for your conduct trying to protect yourself. You must be sure to give timely notice of this affirmative defense and be prepared to have the appropriate jury instructions ready.

People are commonly charged with resisting arrest in Denver County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County and Jefferson County, Colorado, when officers are mad or feel a person has done something to make their job more difficult. When faced with a possible arrest, it is best to remain silent, be calm and let the officer handcuff you. Provided the officers are not beating you, it is not helpful to resist or fight back in any way. You could easily be charged with assault in the second degree. This charge is very serious and can be made if there are allegations you attempted to prevent an officer from performing a lawful duty and you intentionally caused bodily injury (pain is all that's required) to anyone (including the officer or others). It is a very serious charge because it has mandatory sentencing in Colorado to the Department of Corrections. Interference is another charge that often accompanies resisting arrest charges in Colorado.

If you think you might be arrested or have already been arrested, be smart, remain silent and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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