When You Have the Right to Resist Arrest
If you are stopped by law enforcement and arrested, and the arresting officer failed to follow the correct procedures as outlined by law, resisting arrest may be your only option. To be stopped, searched, or arrested, the police must have probable cause — this is a constitutional right. Were your rights violated by police? If so, it may be possible to have your case dismissed.
Resisting arrest is dangerous, and never advised. Whether you are a victim of excessive force, police brutality, or have been stopped or arrested without probable cause, your case must be handled carefully and professionally.
In some instances, a person could be at risk of injury or death at the hands of law enforcement. New Mexico law gives individuals the right to defend themselves against attack. Excessive force is considered any force beyond what is reasonably necessary to arrest an individual. This can be difficult to prove. Video evidence that reveals the actions of a police officer is often the most important piece of the puzzle, as the officer will usually assert that the use of force was necessary. Although law enforcement is a difficult job, and officers face dangerous threats on a daily basis, they do not have the right to violate the rights of others.
Self-Defense vs. Excessive Force
Police misconduct can range from a minor violation of policy to the most extreme cases, in which an officer engages in excessive force. Victims have options in these cases, but may not be aware of what to do, or where to turn to for help. If someone recorded the incident on a cellphone, the video is important. If not, take the time to write down every detail of what happened, while it is fresh in your memory. Include the police officer’s name, badge number, the date and time of the incident, and any other pertinent information. Were there witnesses? Get names, addresses and phone numbers of any individual who observed the incident. If you suffered any injury, your medical records are an important part of a case filed against the police.
If you are stopped by police and physically attacked, try to protect the most vulnerable parts of your body by curling up and covering your head. Police officers are armed, and can injure you further if you fight, as has been proven time and again. Try to avoid fighting back, and take a passive stance if at all possible.
When an officer is using excessive force that threatens life, such as tackling a person and slamming their head on the ground, or excessive use of a Taser or stun gun, it is natural to attempt to fight back. You may have been stopped legitimately, or actually guilty of a crime. This does not give police the right to use excessive force at any point. If this happened to you, get a lawyer immediately. If your life was being threatened, you have the right to defend yourself.
New Mexico Criminal Law Offices Can Help
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we have seen many cases in which the tactics of arresting officers have been called into question. Perhaps the officer should not have stopped you at all, and the case can be dismissed for lack of probable cause. We have years of experience in many areas of criminal defense, so whether you were being arrested at a traffic stop, or for a more serious crime, and then accused of resisting arrest, we can help. Our attorneys will assess your case and defend you and your right to defend yourself. Contact our offices today.