How Bleeding On A Police Officer Could Land You In Prison For 10 Years
You probably know that it is a crime to resist arrest. Indeed, it is normally a Class A misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code. But in some cases it can also be prosecuted as a felony. For example, if a person uses a “deadly weapon” to resist arrest–e.g., they point a gun at a police officer–that is considered a third-degree felony.
Jury Convicts Defendant of Criminal “Harassment” of Officer Who Punched Him
A person can also be convicted of a felony if in the process of resisting arrest they cause a police officer “to contact the blood” of someone else. As strange as this sounds, the Penal Code defines this as a form of “criminal harassment.” It is a third-degree felony, meaning a conviction carries a maximum possible prison term of 10 years.
The Texas First District Court of Appeals in Houston recently dealt with a case addressing this particular offense. In Wells v. State, two police officers responded to a report of a “domestic dispute.” When officers arrived they found the defendant in this case arguing with a woman. After breaking up the altercation, officers learned the defendant had an outstanding warrant against him. But when the officers returned to the scene to arrest the defendant, he had left.
A short time later, the officers responded to another call from the same residence. The defendant’s mother told law enforcement that her son was “suicidal and had access to weapons in his room.” Officers arrived and attempted to arrest the defendant. He resisted, according to court records, so one of the officers started punching the defendant.
Apparently, the defendant bled as a result of the police officer’s punching, so prosecutors charged the defendant with harassing the officer by causing him to come into contact with his blood. A jury found the defendant guilty and he received a sentence of eight years in prison.
The First District affirmed the defendant’s conviction and sentence on appeal. The main issue in the appeal was the admission of certain evidence at trial. Specifically, the prosecution introduced a pair of brass knuckles that had been seized from the defendant’s bedroom following his arrest. It is against the law to possess brass knuckles in Texas although the defendant was not charged with that offense. As such, the defense argued the knuckles were evidence of a “prior bad act” that should not have been introduced at trial.
The Tenth District concluded, however, that even if the brass knuckles should not have been admitted, that mistake would not require reversal of the defendant’s conviction.
Contact Pearland Assault & Battery Defense Attorney Keith B. French Today
We are all aware of the problem of the use of excessive force by police. At the same time, the worst thing you can do when arrested by a police officer is to resist. As the case above illustrates, prosecutors will gladly turn any act of resistance into an excuse to charge you with a felony.
So if you are facing any sort of criminal charge, your best bet is to say nothing and contact a qualified Pearland criminal defense lawyer. Contact Keith B. French, Law, PLLC, today to speak with an attorney right away.