Police misconduct has been under a microscope all over the country — including in Texas. One more incident was reported recently down in the Alamo City.
Police had been canvassing a San Antonio neighborhood for an assault suspect when they spotted a 33-year-old jogger. When one officer attempted to question him, the jogger asserted his right not to answer, stating that he was just working out.
San Antonio Man Arrested After the Victim Confirms His Innocence
The conversation escalated as the officers continued questioning the jogger and he again asserted his right not to be questioned. He was placed in a police car even after the assault victim had arrived at the scene and confirmed that this was not the man who had assaulted her.
Even though proven innocent of the alleged assault, the jogger was charged with two counts of felony assault on a police officer, as he had resisted getting into the patrol car, and kicked the officers during the course of the struggle.
He was held in jail for two days until the arresting officers dropped the complaint. Clearly, it is increasingly important to know your rights when dealing with the police, and the potential charges you could face if you’re deemed to be uncooperative.
Apprehended by Police in Texas? Know Your Rights
If you are apprehended by police, it is important to know and exercise your rights while still avoiding any conduct that could be construed as combative or resistant.
If you are stopped by police:
- You have the right to remain silent, as per your Miranda Rights. If you wish to remain silent, politely tell the officer so, and calmly stay silent if the officer continues to question you. You do not have to answer any questions, including those regarding immigration status.
- If you are arrested, you must identify yourself. Simply state your name, and provide any identifying documents on your person.
- Being stopped by the police is alarming. However, stay calm, and avoid arguing, running, resisting, or obstructing the officer. Always keep your hands visible to the officers.
- Ask if you are free to leave. If so, walk away calmly and silently.
- Do not consent to a search of your person or your belongings, unless the police have a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Simply state that you don’t consent, again being assertive but calm.
Texas Resisting Arrest Charges
Although being stopped by a Police officer is a frightening experience for anyone, it is important to remain as calm as possible and avoid resisting the officers, especially by physical means.
Any attempt to physically resist the officer could be considered resisting arrest. Moreover, even if the arrest or attempted search was unlawful, or you were innocent of the reason for your apprehension, you could still face the charge of resisting arrest.
Resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 6-18 months in jail and a fine of $5,000-50,000.
Assault on a Peace Officer in Texas
Any attempt, whether successful or unsuccessful, to cause bodily harm to a police officer, is considered an assault of a peace officer. The degree of assault will depend on the extent of bodily injury that occurred:
This is when a serious bodily injury occurred or the defendant threatened the peace officer with a deadly weapon. This is a Class 3 felony.
When an offender is Intending or threatening to cause serious bodily injury of a peace officer, or causing the officer to come into contact with bodily fluids or toxic chemicals it is considered a second-degree assault. This is a Class 4 felony.
Third-degree assault may be charged with an offender as the intention to threaten or harass the officer, and the defendant causes the officer to come into contact with bodily fluids or toxic substances. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If you come into contact with police in any capacity, know your rights, but exercise them quietly and peacefully. If you find yourself facing resisting arrest or assault of a peace officer charges, take immediate and proactive action to fight back and beat the charges against you.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.