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Resisting Arrest

You may have been going about your business when all of a sudden you see flashing lights or hear a knock at your door. It’s law enforcement and they have a warrant signed by a judge for your arrest. This scenario can understandably be overwhelming, especially if you were unaware or weren’t warned of the arrest ahead of time.

The stressful and in some cases scary nature of an arrest can lead some to act out unintentionally. Many people are reported to have lashed out after an officer touched them because it was an automatic reaction. If the event is especially stress-inducing, you might not even be in your rational mind and decide to assault or escape the officer.

Although this is reasonable considering the circumstances, the state of Iowa could end up charging you with a charge of interference with official acts, otherwise known as resisting arrest. For this reason, we suggest you secure legal representation as soon as possible. 

Defense Lawyers for Resisting Arrest in West Des Moines, IA

If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest, you must act now. The penalties for the crime can range from a simple misdemeanor to a felony-level. This means you have the potential to have prison time. Don’t wait another moment to protect your freedom. Our suggestion is you get in touch with the defense team at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

The criminal defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have years of experience with crimes related to obstructing justice. We understand how stressful an arrest situation can be and how it can make you act out of character. With our skills, we want to help you avoid the criminal penalties for a mistake you did out of pure instinct.

Get in touch with us by calling (515) 279-9700. Our practice is in West Des Moines, but the lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represent people throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area.

Overview of Resisting Arrest in Iowa 

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Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Iowa

The crime “resisting arrest” is actually defined under a section of the Iowa Code known as “interference with official acts.” The statute states a person can be charged if they intentionally obstruct or interfere with the official duties of a person who is a peace officer, jailer, emergency medical care provider, fire fighter or bailiff. The penalties for the crime depend on if anyone was injured and if you successfully resisted the arrest for a period.

 A standard resisting arrest charge is a simple misdemeanor, which can lead to:

  • A fine between $65 and $625; and
  • Up to 30 days in jail

If you interfere with official acts and bodily injury occurs because of it, then you’ll face a serious misdemeanor. The penalties for a serious misdemeanor include the following:

  • A fine between $315 and $1,875; and
  • Up to one year in jail

If the crime involved serious injury, then you’ll face an aggravated misdemeanor which can result in the following penalties: 

  • A fine between $625 and $6,2500; and
  • A jail sentence of up to two years. 

If you attempt to inflict serious injury to leave or display a dangerous weapon, then the charge will be elevated to a class D felony. The consequences for a class D felony include:

  • A fine between $750 and $7,500; and
  • A five-year prison sentence

Serious injuries define under the Iowa Code can include the following:

  • A disabling mental illness;
  • Any injury on a child that requires surgery or general anesthesia; or
  • A bodily injury that fits the following categories:
    • Creates a substantial risk of death;
    • Causes serious permanent disfigurement; or
    • Causes protracted loss or impairment of a bodily member or organ 

The term “dangerous weapon” refers to any device or instrument designed or has the obvious capability to inflict serious injury or death. Some examples include swords, knives with blades longer than five inches, firearms and razors.

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What Constitutes as an Unlawful Arrest in Iowa?

It can be difficult to defend resisting arrest charges when dashcam footage or other officer testimony paints you as the violent fugitive attempting escape. However, you could possibly have your case dismissed if you can prove to the judge the arrest was unlawful. Officers must follow certain procedures when arresting people so they don’t impede on civil rights. 

Under the Iowa Code Section 804.14, it states an officer can make an arrest if they do the following actions:

  • Inform you that you’re about to be arrested, the reason for the arrest and the officer who is making the arrest; and
  • The officer is acting under the authority of a lawful warrant. They’re not required to carry the warrant when making the arrest, but upon request the officer should allow you to view the warrant as soon as possible

It’s important to remember an officer doesn’t need to inform you of the arrest if they catch you in the commission of a criminal act. They also have the authority to break into an entering or use force if needed to make the arrest.

However, if an officer doesn’t have a valid reason for the arrest, then the case may be dismissed. Arrest warrants can only work if they’re signed by a magistrate, and an officer can only submit one if they have enough probable cause that you’ve committed a crime. If one or more of these guidelines are skipped, then the arrest could be considered unlawful.

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Additional Resources

MirandaWarning.Org – Visit the official website for your Miranda Warning to learn more about the federal legislation, it’s purpose and the actual script for the Miranda rights. Find out if your arrest was lawful and the importance of Miranda rights in the United States.

Iowa’s Laws on Resisting Arrest – Visit the official website for the Iowa Code to learn more about legislation regarding obstructing justice. Access the document to learn the penalties for resisting arrest as well as what happens if you assault a jailer, tamper with witnesses or evidence and other related crimes. 

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Defense Lawyer for Resisting Arrest in Dallas County, IA

If you or someone you know has been charged for resisting arrest, then it’s our advice you seek legal representation such as McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our lawyers understand how stressful and, in some cases, terrifying an arrest can be. We want to help you out of this situation with relative penalties by using our knowledge, resources and experience for your case.

Call (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation free today. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa area including Altoona, West Des Moines, Perry, Miniburn, Polk City and Waukee.