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Portland Criminal Defense Attorney: Can a Person Unknowingly Resist Arrest?

If a person does not know they are being arrested, can they be charged with resisting arrest? That was a question before the Oregon Court of Appeal recently in State v. Olive. In its opinion, the Court reversed the conviction of resisting arrest based on this fact. In examining the statue that deals with this crime, the court found that intent is a vital element to the crime, therefore the Court sided with the Portland Criminal Defense Attorney and reversed the trial court’s conviction.

Portland Criminal Defense Attorney on Proving Each Element of a Crime

At trial, the circuit court found that the prosecution had no proven that the defendant knew he was being arrested, but they said this was not an element of the crime. This was based on the opinion State v. Toelaer, 70 Or App 164, 688 P2d 124 (1984)

, in which the Court of Appeals found that knowingly resisting was not an element of the crime. Upon further examination on appeal from a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney, however, this Court overturned its previous ruling by more closely examining the statute.

ORS 162.315 deals with resisting arrest, and was examined by Court of Appeals to determine exactly what elements need to be proven in order to secure a conviction. The statute explicitly states that a person must “intentionally resist” a peace officer making an arrest. It is not enough to show that a person simply resisted the officer, but that the officer was resisted while unambiguously making an arrest. Therefore, it must be known to the defendant that an arrest was being made and that the defendant intentionally resisted this action. Because the trial court had found that the prosecution failed to prove this element, the Court of Appeals found that an acquittal was the correct verdict and reversed his conviction.

As a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney, it is important to understand the application of statutes and the elements presented therein. Even one word can drastically change the interpretation of a law. For an experienced criminal defense that will fight for your freedom, contact Corbridge & Kroll today.

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