Resisting Arrest

Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest is taken seriously by the laws of the Commonwealth and other states. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, please call me for a free consultation and to learn how I can help you.  I offer affordable, tenacious representation and a free initial consultation.

What is resisting arrest?

A person may be considered to have resisted arrest if they threaten or attempt to injure an officer or another person in the course of being arrested.  A person can be charged with this crime not only if they attempt to prevent themselves from being arrested, but also if they attempt to prevent another person from being arrested.

What is official authority?

So long as the officer has the authority to make the arrest, an individual cannot use the defense of an unlawful arrest to evade criminal punishment. An officer is considered to have the authority to make an arrest if, while on duty, he/she believes, in good faith, that an arrest should be made based on all the facts and circumstances of a given situation.

What must be proven to be found guilty of this crime?

The government must prove that you knew that the person attempting to effectuate the arrest was a police officer. If an officer is dressed in uniform it is generally presumed that you would know they were a police officer. If the law enforcement official is not in uniform, it can be shown that you knew he/she had the authority to make an arrest by demonstrating that he/she identified himself/herself through:

  • A badge
  • Insignia
  • ID card
  • Police radio
  • Other police equipment like a marked police car

Simply running away from the police is not considered to be resisting arrest. However, courts have found incidents of resisting arrest where offenders have:

  • Refused to bend their arms so handcuffs could be placed on them
  • Spit at and the scuffled with officers in order to not be handcuffed
  • Refused to put arms behind their back to be handcuffed
  • Engaged in physical resistance, even after being arrested, when being placed in the police cruiser

Defenses to resisting arrest

Since the offender must knowingly resist arrest, persons who have been found to be intoxicated cannot be found guilty of this crime in most circumstances.

Should the officer attempting to make the arrest use unreasonable excessive force, the subject of arrest may reciprocate the force to protect him/herself from harm. The person being arrested may only uses as much force as is necessary to protect him/herself. Additionally, once the offender realizes that the officer will cease the excessive force if the he/she ceases, the force must cease.

What is the Punishment in Massachusetts for Resisting Arrest?

Due to the seriousness of this crime, those who are found guilty in the State of Massachusetts could be fined up to $500 and/or imprisoned for up to 2 ½ years.

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