What To Do If You Have Been Charged With Resisting Arrest In North Carolina?

Raleigh NC Criminal Defense

By definition, a person is considered under arrest when a police officer makes an act to put that person in custody. But what is not so easily defined is what happens if you take any actions to oppose an officer who is trying to arrest you. Every individual has the right to stay silent until you have a lawyer present, but anything more can lead you to be charged with resisting arrest. In North Carolina as well as other states “resisting” is an extensive definition that includes any obstruction or delay of public officers–and this could result in additional charges being added to your original arrest.

In this blog, our Criminal Defense Attorneys are sharing the laws in relation to resisting arrest and how to build a legal case for your defense in criminal court. Just remember if you’ve been arrested, you are always entitled to help from of an experienced attorney. At the Coolidge Law Firm our Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys represent clients facing a variety of criminal offenses.

Call us today at (919) 239-8448 or fill out our form to get started with your free consultation!

What Classifies as Resisting Arrest?

The law for resisting arrest in North Carolina is defined by the Statute 14-223:

“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.”

In many criminal cases the behavior of resisting arrest can be difficult to define and it is broad in both legal interpretation as well legislation. There is a long list of behaviors that can constitute resistance. In any case, however, the law enforces the arresting of a person who was aware that the person arresting them was an officer, and intentionally resisted or obstructed them.

Examples of other behaviors that law enforcement officers can classify as means of charging for resisting arrest are:

  • Running away from the scene
  • Not providing correct information
  • Attempting to defend yourself
  • Acting in a rude manner
  • Speaking harshly
  • Not complying with an officer’s request
  • Refusing a traffic ticket

What Should I Do If I’m Arrested in North Carolina?

The thought of getting arrested is enough to make anyone feel nervous and scared. It’s a stressful situation, but you have rights! In order to protect your legal rights and avoid mistakes, take the following steps:

  • Remain calm
  • Behave politely
  • Request an attorney immediately
  • Exercise your right to remain silent
  • Be cooperative with officials
  • Remember important details

If you behave cooperatively and act smartly, you’ll be able to navigate through the process and walk away without any major convictions. Follow the instructions of your legal team and hope for the best.

Penalties for Resisting Arrest

When resisting arrest in North Carolina, you could face a Class 2 Misdemeanor which will become a permanent criminal record.

The penalties for resisting arrest can range from jail time up to 60 days, fines between 1k-$5K dollars (depending on what charges were involved), and probation with mandatory counseling or community service as well.

The Importance of a Lawyer in Criminal Cases

An experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure you have the proper legal representation you require for handling a criminal conviction. Since the definition of resisting an arrest is so broad and vague, you could easily be wrongly arrested and end up facing criminal charges.

A criminal defense attorney can give you formal legal advice and make sure your constitutional rights are protected. They can professionally assess the prosecutors’ case against you and develop an effective defense.


Defenses For a Charge For Resisting an Arrest

Criminal defense lawyers provide defense during the legal process. While the situation for each case differs, attorneys can use the following defenses for successful outcomes:

Wrongful Arrest

A wrongful or unlawful arrest is one that is not authorized by the government or without a search warrant. After assessing the details of your case, criminal defense lawyers can determine whether your arrest was unlawful. They can then attempt to use this to plead guilty.


The law gives officers the right to use a necessary amount of force during an arrest. However, if the officer acts necessarily violent during the arrest, a person may attempt to protect themself with self-defense.

If this applies to your case, a criminal defense lawyer can fight against criminal charges by arguing that your actions were not to resist the arrest but only for self-protection.

Unawareness of The Officer’s Identity

If a person is unaware of a police officer’s identity during an arrest, then the law against resisting an arrest does not apply to them. This can be possible in the case that a police officer is working undercover. If the arrestee is not aware the person arresting them is a law enforcement official, they may unknowingly fight back.

Types of Crimes a Criminal Lawyer Can Help Defend

There is a broad range of criminal offense cases that an attorney can help defend. With so many consequences of a criminal conviction, you must have the help of an attorney. The best way for your case and future opportunities in life can depend on what kind of charges are filed against one with these convictions- whether they be minor infractions or major cases,

Some areas of criminal law and its related practice areas that a criminal defense attorney can help you with are:

  • Controlled substance charges
  • Violent offenses
  • Charges related to alcohol
  • Theft
  • Economic crimes
  • Traffic offenses
  • DWI and DUI
  • Firearm and weapons violation
  • Charges related to alcohol

How Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You

If you are facing any sort of arrest charge, guilty verdict or not, you need to take actions to protect your rights by promptly hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you. At Coolidge Law Firm, we have experience in defending the rights of our clients accused of all types of felony and misdemeanor crimes in Wake County. Our legal services cover legal issues in Raleigh NC, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Rolesville. Our Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyers will fight to ensure your best interests.

Call us today at (919) 239-8448 or fill out the contact form below to schedule a free consultation.



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