Resisting Arrest – What it Really Means

201505.04

Man arrested by two police officersResisting arrest is a charge that most people today do not fully understand. It is really much broader than what the name implies and can cover many people and situations that average citizens might not expect. Resisting arrest has several different elements.

 Resisting Arrest – The Charge

A charge of resisting arrest actually applies to a range of people and not just a police officer making an arrest. The law includes most types of law enforcement officers who are representatives of the government and not a private business. This includes police officers, peace officers, sheriffs and deputized individuals. It also applies to emergency services professionals such as emergency medical technicians, or EMTs. The general rule is that anyone who is acting on the behalf of the government attempting to enforce the law or provide medical care in an emergency could bring charges of resisting arrest against a person. If you are charged with Resisting Arrest, you should call a good bondsman.

Actions Considered Resisting Arrest

Several different types of actions are considered resisting arrest. The first action is physically attempting to stop an officer from making an arrest. An example would be struggling with the officer as he or she is attempting to put handcuffs on the individual. A second action that could be considered resisting arrest is yelling or screaming at an officer attempting to complete an arrest. The yelling or screaming could hinder the officer in the execution of official duties. A third action is delaying the execution of lawful duties such as EMTs providing lifesaving care or police chasing after a suspect. The final action is somehow obstructing an officer or EMT worker by preventing that individual from doing the job even if the obstruction is not physical.

Legal Requirements to Prove the Charges

Three things have to be proven in order to be found guilty of resisting arrest charges. The first is that the officer or EMT worker was attempting to lawfully perform some official action such as making an arrest. The second requirement is that the person must have performed those actions willfully and with the express intention of actually preventing the officer from doing whatever task was obstructed. The final factor is that a person must have been reasonably aware that the other party was actually a law enforcement officer or an EMT. All three must be proven to find someone guilty of resisting arrest.

Potential Penalties and Fines

Resisting arrest by itself is a misdemeanor charge. It is usually accompanied by other legal charges especially if the defendant was the subject of the initial arrest leading to the incident. Anyone found guilty of this crime could be fined up to $1,000. Additionally, someone could be placed on probation with specific restrictions. A final potential penalty is a maximum of one year in jail. Most people who are arrested for this charge are initially placed into jail pending a hearing. The way around this is to contact a bail bond agency. The agency can post a bail bond that allows the defendant to be released instead of waiting in jail. Most of the amount paid for the bond is returned when the trial is completed regardless of the outcome. This is a way to potentially avoid all jail time if the defendant is eventually found not guild of resisting arrest.