Under Texas law, an individual commits the offense of resisting arrest if he or she intentionally obstructs or prevents a peace officer from carrying out a search, arrest, or transportation of an individual, and uses force against the peace officer or another person


Resisting arrest requires you to have used force against the arrest, but the law outlines that an unlawful arrest or search is not grounds for defense when facing charges of resisting arrest. Therefore, even if you were arrested unlawfully, you can still be convicted if you resist. Although it seems unfair, it is the law.

It’s important to notice that the wording for resisting arrest is vague. A person can be arrested for resisting an officer by “using force.” The term “by force” is subjective so its meaning can change based on a person’s point of view. What you may find forceful may not match up to what the court finds to be forceful. There is, however, defenses to resisting arrest.

The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified under Texas Penal Code Section 9.31(c):

            (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and

            (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater than necessary.


A resisting arrest offense is normally charged as a Class A misdemeanor. It will be raised to a third degree felony charge if a deadly weapon was used to resist the search or arrest. Additionally, charges will be enhanced if any of the following apply:

  • Any previous or similar convictions;
  • If a watercraft or vehicle was used to flee the arrest;
  • If a tire deflation device is used against the arresting officer;
  • If another person experiences serious bodily injury as a direct result of the flight;
  • If anyone dies as a direct result of the flight.


If you or someone you know has resisted arrest, it’s imperative that you gain trusted legal representation. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can explain the law and the potential consequences. Contact Attorney Shane Lewis today if you are ready to find out your legal options.