Have you been charged with resisting arrest? George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers have over 50 years experience in resisting arrest charges, our lawyers are very qualified and competent in dealing with all matters relating to resisting arrest.
It is an offence in New South Wales to prevent or interfere with a police officer’s ability to do their job, and therefore the offence of resisting arrest is found in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Section 546C of the Crimes Act states: “Any person who resists or hinders or incites any person to assault, resist or hinder a police officer in the execution of his or her duty shall be liable on conviction before the Local Court for imprisonment for 12 months or to a fine of 10 penalty units, or both”. This means that a person may be charged if they do something which is considered to ‘resist’ or ‘hinder’ police during the exercise of their duty. A person may also be charged if they encourage or ‘incite’ someone else to behave in this way, or to assault an officer.
Examples of resisting arrest include physically running away from a police officer who is attempting to arrest you, putting up a struggle while a police officer attempts to handcuff you after you have been placed under arrest, preventing the police from accessing an area by blocking the entrance (such as a doorway), encouraging someone else to throw something at a police officer, encouraging someone to run away or struggle with a police officer who is attempting to arrest them, or lying to a police officer. Resisting arrest could also include actions such as lashing out at a police officer with your limbs as they attempt to arrest you, making threats or causing them to fear that you may become violent, or spitting at the police officer as they attempt to arrest you. Hindering means to obstruct or interfere with the police officer in the exercising of their power. In this instance, it could mean that the police officer’s job or action is made more difficult due to your actions.
In order to be prosecuted for this charge, it must be established that you: hindered, resisted (or encouraged someone else to hinder, resist or assault) a police officer; that the person was a police officer of the New South Wales Police Force; and that the officer was acting within or carrying out their duties as a police officer at the time of the alleged offence.
As this is a summary offence, the matter will be heard in the Local Court. This also means that the prosecution does not need to prove intention, but only that you completed the act. This is similar to traffic offences in that it is not necessary to assess your deliberate, purposeful choice to act in this way and whether this was present at the time of the act, and instead it is only a question of whether the act was physically carried out.
A defence to a charge of resisting arrest would typically surround the capacity to which the police officer was acting at the time of the alleged offence or the act at the centre of the allegations. This means that you would be contesting or denying that you physically did the act that you are accused of committing, arguing that the person was not acting within the capacity of their role as a New South Wales police officer, or that there were extenuating circumstances surrounding the time of the incident (such as duress or necessity). There could also possibly be an argument surrounding the legality of the police officer’s attempt to arrest you, whether this is because it was beyond the scope of their duty (such as, they were not currently a NSW police officer or were not on duty) or because it is contended that they are not a NSW police officer in the first place. The argument made will largely depend on the circumstances of the situation and is based on the individual facts of the scenario.
As stated above, the penalty for this offence ranges from a fine to a prison sentence, with the decision depending on the severity of the issue and the factual circumstances of the individual scenario at hand. Alternatives also include a suspended sentence, good behaviour bond, or periodic detention. The maximum penalty will only apply in the most serious of cases.
If you have reason to believe that you may be charged with an offence related to resisting arrest, hindering a police officer in exercising their duty or inciting someone else to resist arrest, hinder or assault a police officer, or you have already been charged, contact one of our criminal lawyers. Based in Sydney, our legal team will protect your reputation and work to clear your name. We can provide expert advice to ensure that the matter is dealt with quickly and thoroughly. Call us today 02 9261-8640