Once you’re in trouble, it’s incredibly easy to get into more trouble.
To illustrate, let’s talk about a young man named Stephen Charles Cox. My colleague Dalton Walker wrote a blurb about Mr. Cox’s recent interaction with Sioux Falls’ finest that demonstrates this point quite clearly.
The allegation is as follows: Cox and a buddy named Tyler Easley were banging on someone’s door so loudly Wednesday afternoon that the person inside called the cops.
When the SFPD arrived, Easley stuck around and Cox bolted. He had a handful of warrants and supposedly had meth in his pocket, so one can might assume the arrival of police was unwelcome.
Even so, running made things worse.
Cox made it about a block and a half (and chopped his hand open trying to jump a fence) before the cops caught him.
Now, instead of an arrest for the warrants, Cox was charged with fleeing law enforcement. He re-portedly didn’t tell the police about his meth when they caught him, either, so he was charged not only with possession of a controlled substance, but possession of unauthorized articles in jail.
So that’s three charges, two of which came through uncooperative behavior. Those charges will give prosecutors leverage in plea agreement negotiations, as they’ll be able to say “if you go to trial, you could be convicted of everything and serve a lot more time than if you just plead to charge X and let us drop the rest.”
This is an relatively common scenario. Let’s imagine Jerry Fakename is hanging out in the park after hours and gets approached by a cop. Mr. Fakename has a joint in his cigarette pack and a warrant for failure to appear on a suspended license charge, so he freaks out and runs before the cop says word one to him.
So that’s fleeing police.
The cop catches Fakename, but he really, really, doesn’t want to get busted, so he wiggles and flails his arms around as the cop cuffs him.
That’s resisting arrest.
Fakename is really pissed about being cuffed and stuffed, so he kicks at the cop after being placed in the back of the police cruiser.
That’s simple assault on a law enforcement officer, which is a felony.
The cop asks Fakename who he is. Fakename calls himself Jerry Fakester.
That’s false impersonation.
Finally, the cop asks if Fakename has anything illegal on him, and Fakeman says no. Then the jailers find his joint at booking.
That’s possession of unauthorized articles in jail. Also a felony, that one.
Now Fakename has five charges, in addition to the warrant. If he’d have stayed put, there’s a chance the cop would have said “park’s closed, buddy. Better move on out.”
The moral of the story is this: Running, kicking and screaming is usually not going to help.