Generally, resisting arrest is defined as interfering with law enforcement in their attempt to make a lawful arrest, handcuff, or take an individual to jail. Resisting arrest may vary from using force in order to avoid being handcuffed to actually fighting with the law enforcement officer.
Even a small amount of force can be enough to be considered resisting arrest. In some states, resisting arrest is referred to as obstruction.
Resisting arrest is typically classified as a misdemeanor. In addition to the charges already being brought against a defendant, if they resist arrest, another charge may be brought against them, resulting in possible jail time and additional fines.
Nevada defines resisting arrest as resisting, delaying, or obstructing law enforcement in attempting to or discharging their legal duty.
Who is a Law Enforcement Officer?
The laws of every individual state may vary regarding the definition of a law enforcement officer. In addition to police officers, sheriffs, and other commonly known peace officers, the term law enforcement officer may also include other personnel, such as:
- Prison guards;
- Probation supervisors;
- Parole supervisors;
- Park rangers; and
- Correctional officers.
It is important to note that because private security guards are not performing a public duty, they are usually treated as private citizens and now as law enforcement officers. Because of this, the laws that govern resisting arrest will not apply to an attempted arrest by a security guard.
This may, however, be different if the private security guard is actually an off-duty law enforcement officer. Some courts have held that the laws governing resisting arrest apply to an off-duty law enforcement officer working as a private security guard.
Other courts, however, have held that the opposite is true. Due to this issue, it is very important to consult with a local attorney to determine the laws that will apply in an individual’s state.
Can I Ever Resist Arrest?
The answer to whether an individual can ever resist arrest will vary by state. In most jurisdictions, individuals are no longer permitted to resist an arrest, even if that arrest is unlawful.
The best thing an individual can do is peacefully cooperate with law enforcement. If they feel they have been the victim of a false arrest or police misconduct, they should go with law enforcement and then get a lawyer and file a complaint.
What if the Police are Using Excessive Force? Can I then Resist Arrest?
The traditional rule is that individuals are permitted to defend themselves if a law enforcement officer uses excessive force against them. However, this may not be the best course of action.
Instead, it may upset the law enforcement officer even more and cause them to use additional force. In addition, if the individual uses force to defend themselves, it may be seen as resisting arrest.
The best thing an individual can do is not to do anything to upset the officer. An individual should never use physical force against a law enforcement officer.
What Happens if I Use Physical Force against a Police Officer?
If individuals attempt to resist arrest and use physical force, the charge of resisting arrest may be increased to assaulting a law enforcement officer. Assaulting a law enforcement officer is a felony offense.
Because resisting arrest typically involves some physical struggle with an officer, there is a high probability that an individual’s misdemeanor resisting arrest charge may be increased into a felony assaulting a law enforcement officer charge.
What Does Nevada’s Resisting Arrest Law Really Mean?
The resisting arrest law in Nevada means that an individual can be arrested and convicted of resisting arrest if they do one or more of the following:
- Resist arrest: This occurs when an individual uses physical force to avoid being placed in handcuffs or taken into custody by police;
- Delay an arrest: This occurs when an individual uses tactics to delay their arrest, such as not placing their hands behind their back or trying to talk the police out of making the arrest; and
- Obstruct an arrest: This occurs when an individual uses force or tactics to prevent another individual from being taken into lawful custody.
Is Resisting Arrest a Felony or Misdemeanor in Nevada?
Resisting arrest is typically charged as a misdemeanor and is punishable by:
- Six months in jail;
- A $1,000 criminal fine; or
- A combination of fines and jail time.
Can a Resisting Arrest Charge be a Felony in Nevada?
Yes, a resisting arrest charge can be a felony in Nevada. Individuals may be charged with felony resisting arrest if they grab the officer’s weapon or any other weapon during the arrest.
An individual may also be charged with felony resisting arrest for committing battery on a law enforcement officer. The battery must cause the officer to suffer substantial harm.
What is the Penalty for the Felony Charge of Resisting Arrest in Nevada?
Felony resisting arrest in Nevada is a Category C or Category D felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. This means that the individual who is convicted of resisting arrest may face the following consequences for using a firearm or grabbing the officer’s firearm in their effort to resist:
- One to five years in prison;
- A $5,000 criminal fine; or
- A combination of fines and prison time.
If the individuals used any type of weapon other than a firearm, then the crime is a Category D felony and is punishable by:
- One to four years in prison;
- A $5,000 criminal fine; or
- A combination of fines and prison time.
How Does the Prosecution Prove a Resisting Arrest Charge?
The prosecution must provide evidence of certain elements. The jury must decide that the prosecution proved every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an individual of resisting arrest.
Although the elements required may vary by state, they typically include the following:
- The defendant resisted a law enforcement officer intentionally;
- The defendant acted in a violent or threatening manner toward the law enforcement officer; and
- The law enforcement officer was lawfully engaged in their official duties and properly conducting their official duties.
The amount of resistance that the prosecution must provide has to be sufficient to show some physical violence or force by the defendant at the time of arrest that interfered with or obstructed the law enforcement officer, so they were unable to carry out their official duties.
What are the Defenses to a Resisting Arrest Charge?
A defendant who is charged with resisting arrest may be able to offer a defense to the charges. The requirements for these defenses vary by state but may include the following:
- Self-Defense: The defendant can claim that the police officer acted violently and the force that was used was excessive, and the defendant was defending themselves from the excessive force being used; or
- Unlawful Arrest: The defendant may claim that the original arrest was unlawful and that the arrest was not authorized by law.
Can a Lawyer Help Me?
It can be a very frightening experience to be arrested. The last thing you need is to be accused of resisting arrest and other charges you may face.
If you are charged with resisting arrest or any other criminal offense in Nevada, you should consult a Nevada criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you understand the state’s laws and whether any defenses may be available in your case.