Criminal Law

Offences Against Police - Assault and Resist Arrest

Police are given broad and far reaching investigative powers and powers of arrest. Increasing police powers to help combat crime usually comes at the cost of encroaching on our civil liberties. The law tries to find a balance between the two competing interests; that is, increasing police powers to protect the community against preserving our rights and freedom of movement. Some argue that police powers go too far and others argue that more power should be given. Nevertheless, interfering with police powers of arrest or investigation can result in being charged with a criminal offence. 

The most common charges involving police are for resisting an officer in the execution of his or her duty (resist arrest); hindering a police investigation and assault police officer. The charges can often be laid in circumstances where it is questionable whether the accused person has done anything wrong or, where the accused person was in fact defending him/herself from the unlawful actions of the police.

Resist Arrest

This is the most common offence involving police. Although it is more commonly known as resist arrest NSW Police can rely on this charge to cover a broader range of scenarios and is not isolated to the act of arrest itself. This charge can be defended if it is successfully argued that the police officer was not exercising or acting in his or her lawful duty.

Hinder Police

Hindering a police investigation is the least serious of the three offences. It is an easy charge for police to lay, as not a lot is required to make out the charge. Sometimes, one can successfully persuade the police to "downgrade" a resist police charge to a hinder police.

Assault Police

This is of course the more serious type of offence against a police officer, especially if injuries are inflicted. It is not unusual for someone to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment if found "guilty" of this charge; however, the likely penalty will depend on the viciousness of the assault, the type of injury if any, the surrounding circumstances and whether or not the offender has a prior criminal record for offences of violence. Sometimes, an experienced criminal lawyer can have an assault police charge "downgraded" to a resist arrest charge. This will depend on the circumstances and the attitude of the charging police and prosecutors.

Resist arrest and assault police are charges that are often laid without any other charges. When this happens, it can be questionable as to whether the police in fact had a power to arrest in the first place. Other occasions when the police approach can be called into question is when the accused person, in addition to resist arrest or assault police charges is charged with a very minor offence, whereby an infringement notice could have been issued, rather than a physical arrest having to take place. In these circumstances, it can sometimes be argued that police have acted improperly and should not be able to rely on the arrest and the evidence obtained as a result thereof. 

If you have been charged with an offence against police, such as assault police or resist arrest, we invite you to contact your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

Contact to speak to one of our Criminal Lawyers Parramatta, Sydney, Chatswood, Sutherland or Wollongong.    

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