Man Arrested for Assaulting Police Officer
San Bernardino County police officers responded to a call in Needles of some form of domestic disturbance. When the police tried arresting the accused, he assaulted the officers. The officers then had to tase him in order to make the arrest. Although I like to keep this blog specific to Lake Havasu and Parker, because this story was reported in the Havasu newspaper, I thought it would be worthwhile talking about. Also, my apologies for the lack of specifics - the article didn't give details.
We routinely represent clients in Lake Havasu charged with assaulting an officer. Assaulting an officer could mean many different things. If a person pushes or punches an officer, clearly that's an assault. When it becomes a little less clear is when an officer tries to arrest a person and the person puts up a struggle. In my opinion (which maybe I think this way because I'm a criminal defense attorney) that's why we have the charge of Resisting Arrest. I believe it's unfair for a person to be charged with a felony if the arresting police officers only had to undergo a small struggle to make the arrest. Consider what's at stake. If a person is charged with Aggravated Assault for essentially putting up a struggle during an arrest, they will be facing a class 5 felony. If the case were charged as Resisting Arrest, the accused would only be facing a Class 6 felony. So what's the difference between a class 5 and 6 felony? For starters, if a person is charged with a Class 6 felony, we may be able to easily negotiate a misdemeanor resolution, which means the penalty would typically just be a fine. If a person is charged with a class 5 felony, we are fighting to avoid a felony conviction AND jail time.
While I fully support police officers, I often feel that when my clients are charged with Aggravated Assault for what should have been Resisting Arrest, the officer was being overly sensitive. If the officer was injured in the arrest, I get it, but everything else I consider to be an abuse of the officer's discretion.
If a person is convicted of a class 5 felony aggravated assault, they could be facing up to 2.5 years in prison. As you can see an Aggravated Assault charge is up for interpretation. Unfortunately, if you don't have a lawyer, your side of the story won't get told, the prosecutor will believe whatever the prosecutor tells them, and you will be convicted of a class 5 felony. Never go at a felony charge alone.