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Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 – Don’t Resist – Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not – Some Practical Advice

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Theft Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 - Don’t Resist - Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not - Some Practical AdviceResisting Arrest In Colorado – Don’t Resist – Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not – Some Practical Advice – As an ordinary citizen it is a major mistake to resist arrest even if you believe your arrest is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. Probable cause, the standard necessary to make an arrest is a “fluid concept” and even experienced criminal defense lawyers can be wrong in their analysis.

 

While I have written on the dangers of resisting arrest before more than once – because these cases pose such a threat to my clients – I am compelled to write again. This article discusses the purely practical reasons why resisting arrest in Colorado makes no sense and ends with some suggested talking points.

Should You Resist An Unlawful Arrest In Colorado?

In a word, NO. Unless your life is in danger – NEVER resist arrest.

In our society, like it or not, the police have a unique position of power over us. The time to assert “your rights” is in the courtroom AFTER you have been booked and fingerprinted and have made bail.

DON”T resist arrest even if you have a firm belief that your arrest is illegal. At the moment you are about to be handcuffed – the officer should be allowed to take control of you – resisting does NOT stop the arrest – it endangers you, the officer and everyone around you and it could result in serious bodily injury or death all involved.

What IS The Colorado Definition Of Resisting Arrest?

18-8-103 (1) C.R.S. provides:

A person commits resisting arrest if he knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a peace officer, acting under color of his official authority, from effecting an arrest of the actor or another, by:

(a) Using or threatening to use physical force or violence against the peace officer or another; or

(b) Using any other means which creates a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to the peace officer or another.

A “peace officer” means a peace officer in uniform or, if out of uniform, one who has identified himself by exhibiting his credentials as such peace officer to the person whose arrest is attempted.

A peace officer acts “under color of his official authority” when, in the regular course of assigned duties, he is called upon to make, and does make, a judgment in good faith based upon surrounding facts and circumstances that an arrest should be made by him.

What You Should NOT Do

Not only do you run the risk of injury – IF you survive – even if you were right about the illegality of the arrest, as noted, you can still be charged with Resisting Arrest, Second Degree Assault On A Police Officer or both. Resisting arrest, such as pulling away, is usually a misdemeanor. There are, of course, times when a police officer will cut you a little slack and not charge that crime, but you cross the “line of discretion” by striking or spitting on an officer and you WILL be charged with a very serious felony that requires mandatory prison in Colorado.

Furthermore, as a more practical matter, the police are trained to increase the level of violence to overcome any resistance on the part of an arrestee (the person being arrested). This is a very dangerous game. Since the police officer arresting you will NEVER be persuaded by physical resistance to retreat from the decision to arrest the arrestee, use your head and do NOT resist.

What You SHOULD Do

  • Don’t answer questions other than the most basic questions about your identification – your “name, rank and serial number.”
  • Be polite and peaceful at all times – try to stay calm.
  • Do as you are told – “Put your hands behind you” means exactly that. Do it and do it fast!
  • Don’t argue with the officer, if you decide to answer questions and the decision to arrest you has been made – don’t protest your innocence… it is a waste of time and will make matters much worse.
  • While you should never consent to a search of anything – let them search if they decide to search. When they arrest you they will search your body and have the right to search your car if it is involved.
  • Don’t “mouth off” at the police, even when you feel a grave mistake has been made and you have been wrongly arrested.
  • Resisting arrest and – or attempting to run away (fleeing the scene) is almost always interpreted by juries as “consciousness of guilt.”
  • Permit your photograph and fingerprints to be taken even if it is without your consent.

Your case should be reviewed by an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer – say NOTHING until you have spoken with at least one lawyer. There is no question that being arrested, (strip) searched and jailed will be at least one of the most traumatic events in your life.

The police know that you are rattled and they will seek to capitalize on the fact that you are frightened, embarrassed, and humiliated. They know you will not be thinking clearly. Until you at least review the case with a lawyer you may not have a clear picture of what happened and what the motive of the police is in questioning you.

Summary – Mistakes Are Made – Fight Them In Court Not On The Street

Police make mistakes – old and incorrect warrants are left on the system – names change – aliases are used – the wrong people can be arrested for a myriad of reasons. However you should never never give a police officer ANY – reason to believe you are a threat to that officer’s safety. If you are mistreated – your remedy comes later in a court of law – not when you are being taken into custody.

Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 – Don’t Resist – Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not – Some Practical Advice

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The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael will be at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case. H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case

H. Michael Steinberg 30 Plus Years As A Colorado Criminal Defense LawyerABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – please call 720-220-2277.

“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer. We encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 – Don’t Resist – Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not – Some Practical Advice.

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Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 - Don’t Resist - Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not - Some Practical Advice
Article Name
Resisting Arrest In Colorado 18-3-201 - Don’t Resist - Whether You Think It Is A Lawful Arrest Or Not - Some Practical Advice
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As an ordinary citizen it is a major mistake to resist arrest even if you believe your arrest is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. Probable cause, the standard necessary to make an arrest is a "fluid concept" and even experienced criminal defense lawyers can be wrong I can be wrong in their analysis.
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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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