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Resisting Arrest Laws, Charges, and Punishments

Understanding Resisting Arrest: Laws, Charges, and Punishments

If you have ever heard of anyone resisting arrest, you assumed it involved an intense physical struggle between a police officer and the suspect. However, that is not always the case. In fact, depending on the state where it took place and the circumstances involved in the incident, the laws, charges, and punishments can vary widely.

Misdemeanor Offenses

If you are charged with resisting arrest, you will most likely be facing a misdemeanor. While not as serious as a felony charge, you could still face such penalties as a prison term of up to three years and a $5,000 fine, both of which are possibilities in Maryland. In addition, some states such as California have laws in place that allow people to be charged with resisting arrest not only when interacting with police officers, but also with emergency medical technicians.

Proving Resisting Arrest Occurred

Though you may think proving resisting arrest is open and shut, it can be anything but that depending on the nature of the incident. To begin with, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. To prove their case, prosecutors must show a defendant willfully obstructed the officer, acted violently or threatened violence, and that the officer was acting in an official capacity at the time of the arrest. However, even if all this is proven, it does not mean the person is necessarily guilty of other crimes for which they may be charged.

Punishments for Resisting Arrest

If you are convicted of resisting arrest, the court has the authority to levy a variety of punishments against you. For example, if your charges are misdemeanors, you may face one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, and perhaps an informal probation period that could last up to five years. However, if you are in a state that makes resisting arrest a felony, you may be staring at three years in jail, a $10,000 fine, paying restitution, and supervised probation that will require you to report each week to a probation officer.

Sentencing Guidelines

Just as states have different requirements as to what they consider to be resisting arrest, judges also have many different guidelines they can use to determine an appropriate sentence. In many cases, judges will look at whether or not a defendant acted violently prior to being charged with resisting arrest. When not part of the equation, the sentence will generally be lighter.

Statute of Limitations

If your resisting arrest charge is a misdemeanor, authorities have a two-year statute of limitations in which to file such charges against you. Yet for felony resisting arrest charges, more time is often given, and can vary from state to state. Thus, if you suddenly have resisting arrest charges added to existing charges against you, always consult with an experienced attorney at once.

Examples of Resisting Arrest

As stated earlier, there does not have to be an act of physical violence for charges of resisting arrest to be levied against you. For example, if you are peacefully protesting and an officer is forced to drag or carry you while making the arrest, these charges can be brought against you. Also, if you are found to have given an officer false information, you may also be charged with resisting arrest. Yet since your version of events and the officer’s version are likely to differ in many ways, do not sit back and simply allow these additional charges to make an already difficult situation worse. Instead, discuss the incident in question and these related charges in greater detail with your attorney.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Possible Defenses

Though officers and prosecutors will act as though there are no defenses to resisting arrest, that is not the case at all. In fact, you may have many different defenses to these charges. For example, if the officer used excessive force that made you feel as if you needed to defend yourself, you may be able to beat these charges. Also, if your arrest on other charges was unlawful, you may also see resisting arrest charges dropped. Whatever the circumstances of your case, never allow police and prosecutors to have a clear path to conviction. Instead, let your attorney examine the evidence and fight hard on your behalf.

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