Resist Public Officer

So you were charged with Resisting a Public Officer, now what?

Resisting arrest or resisting a public officer is an often misunderstood charge that some people receive. It is frustrating to be in a situation where a police officer has made the decision to make an arrest.  The reason that this charge is so often misunderstood is that it is spoken about as if you must have committed an arrestable offense before you can resist the arrest.  For more clarification on what this charge actually means it is best to start at the statute.  NCGS 14-223 states:

“If any person shall willfully and unlawfully resist, delay or obstruct a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

So, as you can see in the statute, there is no mention of arrest.  The charge has become known as resisting arrest probably because it is easier for the police to get their point across in a tense situation by saying resisting arrest rather than saying resisting delaying or obstructing a lawful duty of his office.  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it, can you blame them?  That doesn’t mean that this is not an abused charge however.  Just because an officer has charged you with resisting a public officer, doesn’t mean that your only option is to plead guilty.

Fighting the RPO charge means breaking down what the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and finding a point or points of attack.  In order for the state to win a guilty verdict at trial, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a:

  • Willful and unlawful,
  • Resistance, delay, or obstruction of
  • A public officer who is discharging or attempting to discharge a duty of his office.

If an officer was attempting to force you to comply with a command that was outside of his official duty, or if your resistance was lawful because the officer’s command was not part of their official duty, there may be a valid challenge to the charge.  Attorneys with King Law Offices will be able to examine the facts of each individual case and fight for the best outcome in your case.  We understand that nobody wants to get arrested, and that getting arrested is a frightening experience for our clients, but we stand up for you when you need it most.

If you know someone who needs representation in a criminal matter, please call Attorney Patrick Keeley for a free consultation in our Catawba County office located in Hickory, North Carolina.