When Resisting Arrest Becomes Felony Assault

When Resisting Arrest Becomes Felony Assault Resisting arrest can lead to various charges, including felony assault. However, it typically does not automatically result in serious charges.

In Texas, resisting arrest is generally defined as intentionally preventing or obstructing a law enforcement officer from making a lawful arrest. This can involve a range of actions or behaviors, and the specific criteria for resisting arrest might include the following:

  • Physical resistance: Physically struggling, fighting, or attempting to evade a law enforcement officer while they are trying to make an arrest.
  • Verbal resistance: Using threatening or abusive language or other verbal actions to hamper the arrest or to stimulate others to resist the arrest.
  • Attempting to flee: Trying to run away from the scene or the officer to avoid being arrested.
  • Refusing to comply with officer’s commands: Ignoring an officer’s commands to stop, get on the ground, or comply with other orders made during the arrest process.
  • Obstructing the arrest: Physically getting between the officer and the individual being arrested in an attempt to interfere with the arrest.
  • Passive resistance: Making the arrest more difficult for the officer by going flaccid or refusing to cooperate physically.

Resisting arrest is a criminal offense, and whether it leads to charges and what level of charges depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. Law enforcement officers are allowed to use reasonable force to effect an arrest, although the legality of their actions can be subject to scrutiny in court.

What is felony assault?

Felony assault, also known as aggravated assault, is a criminal offense that involves causing bodily injury to another person while using a deadly weapon. Specific circumstances can also aggravate a lesser offense to the level of felony assault. Some crimes that may constitute felony assault in Texas include:

  • Causing serious bodily injury: One of the most common ways for an assault to become a felony in Texas is if it results in serious bodily injury—an injury that creates a significant threat of death, severe, permanent disfigurement, or the loss or damage of a bodily organ or function.
  • Use of a deadly weapon: Assault can rise to the level of a felony if a deadly weapon is used during the commission of the offense. A deadly weapon can be any object or instrument that is designed for or can be used in a way that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. This includes firearms, knives, and other dangerous items.
  • Assault on a public servant: If an assault is committed against a public servant like a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel, it may be charged as a felony.
  • Family violence: Assaulting a family member, household member, or someone with whom the accused has a dating relationship can be charged as a felony if the defendant has a prior family violence conviction.

The severity of a felony charge varies based on the specific circumstances of each case. In Texas, felony offenses are categorized into five degrees:

  • First-degree felony: The most serious felony charge, carrying a penalty of five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree felony: Carrying a punishment of by two to 20 years in prison and fines of as much as $10,000.
  • Third-degree felony: May result in penalties of two to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
  • State jail felony: A less serious felony classification, with a penalty of 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third-degree felony: The least serious felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

You can be charged with resisting arrest and felony assault

Resisting arrest is typically charged as a misdemeanor offense; however, if the actions taken during the resistance meet the conditions, you may find yourself facing additional criminal charges for:

  • Assault on a peace officer: If the resistance accelerates to physical violence against a peace officer, the offender may be charged with assault on a peace officer, a third-degree felony in Texas. Because this offense involves intentionally causing bodily injury to a peace officer, the penalties can be more severe and might include imprisonment for two to 10 years along with fines.
  • Aggravated assault: If the individual resisting arrest uses a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury to a peace officer, they may be charged with aggravated assault, a more serious felony offense. The penalties for aggravated assault in Copperas Cove can be severe and could result in extended prison time.

In Texas, the specific charges and penalties for resisting arrest and felony assault often vary based on the circumstances of the event and the discretion of law enforcement and prosecutors. If you or someone you know is facing charges related to resisting arrest or assault in or near Copperas Cove, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance personalized to your unique situation.

If you’ve been arrested for felony assault connected to resisting arrest, you need an experienced Copperas Cove criminal defense attorney on your side. Mary Beth Harrell has dedicated her legal career to defending Texans charged with crimes. In addition to decades of experience as a criminal defense attorney, she has worked as a city prosecutor and an assistant district attorney, knows the prosecutors, judges, and police officers, and has assembled a professional support team that knows what it takes to successfully defend a case. Our team is tough, smart, and ready to fight for you.

To schedule an initial case evaluation with our team, call our offices in Copperas Cove or Killeen, or fill out our contact form. We also serve Belton, Harker Heights, Waco, Williamson County, Bell County, Coryell County, and McLennan County. We want to help.