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Being arrested can be scary and traumatic. You never know how you might feel or react until the moment, and it’s not uncommon to act in a way that could be deemed as resisting or evading arrest. However, this is a crime that will only make the situation worse.

What does it mean to evade arrest?

When a law enforcement officer tries to arrest you, your first instinct may be to run away from officers. However, it is best to act calmly and rationally, even if you believe you are in the right.

Evading or resisting arrest obstructs or delays law enforcement officers from carrying out their duties. It’s also illegal in South Carolina, and evading or resisting arrest could result in severe penalties. 

Charges for Evading Arrest in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the charges for evading arrest depend on the details of the alleged crime. The South Carolina law for evading arrest is split into two sections, one for simple evasion and one for assaulting law enforcement officers while resisting arrest.

The former does not include assaulting or harming an officer. The key requirements of simple evasion include: 

  • The law enforcement officer served a process or attempted an arrest
  • The defendant knew that the individual was a law enforcement officer
  • The defendant knowingly and willfully opposed an arrest

The Difference Between the Two Kinds of Evasion

It often doesn’t take much to be charged with resisting arrest under this first kind of evasion. Simply jerking away from an officer or moving your wrists as they attempt to place handcuffs on you could result in charges for evading arrest.

To be charged with evading arrest under the second section of the law, you must have assaulted a law enforcement officer. Under these circumstances, the prosecution will likely handle your case more aggressively, but they must prove you knowingly and willfully assaulted or wounded an officer.

Penalties for Evading Arrest

The details and severity of the charges determine the penalties for evading arrest. 

Simple evasion is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. Evading arrest with assault on an officer could result in a $1,000 to $10,000 fine and imprisonment for up to 10 years. 

A resisting arrest charge involving assault or threat with a deadly weapon carries a minimum prison sentence of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years.

Potential Defenses for Evading Arrest Charges

Several defenses are common when you evade arrest charges; however, the details of your charges determine the right one for your case. 

Some of the common defenses for charges of resisting arrest include:

  • You Weren’t Under Arrest: You can’t be guilty of resisting arrest if you weren’t under arrest to begin with 
  • You Didn’t Resist Arrest: You couldn’t have tried to evade arrest if the prosecution cannot prove you knowingly and willingly intended to resist
  • The Arrest Was Unlawful: Technically, you can resist an unlawful arrest in South Carolina
  • Self-Defense: If an officer uses excessive force, you have the right to protect yourself

Your criminal defense attorney can create the proper legal defense on your behalf and gather evidence to strengthen and support your case. 

Consult with a South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing charges for evading arrest in South Carolina, allow a skilled defense lawyer to help protect your rights and future.

The Law Office of Mo Abusaft can assist you. We’ve supported countless clients charged with resisting arrest and are ready to fight for you. We invite clients in the Spartanburg, SC, area to contact us to schedule a consultation.