Resisting Arrest

Resisting Arrest, the Basics

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor crime in Massachusetts and is looked at very seriously by the Court. Due to the very close relationship between police and prosecutors, these types of cases are also prosecuted to the fullest extent.

In order to prove a case of resisting arrest, prosecutors must prove 4 elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Those elements are:

  1. That the defendant prevented or attempted to prevent a police officer from making an arrest, of the defendant or of another person;
  2. That the officer was acting under color of authority at the time;
  3. That the defendant resisted: either by using, or threatening to use, physical force or violence against the police officer (or another person) or by using some other means which created a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to the police officer; and
  4. That the defendant did so knowingly

Resisting arrest can take many forms, from simply pulling away from the officer during an arrest to a full physical fight with officers (which would also lead to a charge of Assault & Battery on a Police Officer).

Resisting Arrest is a misdemeanor offense with a maximum punishment of 2.5 years in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

The question of whether someone was being placed under is a fact intensive one. Just because an officer places handcuffs on you does not mean you are under arrest. In certain circumstances police are able to restrain a person for their own safety without having to place the person under arrest. It should also be noted that a wrongful arrest is never a defense to resisting arrest. Even if you are acquitted of the main charge (the reason you were being arrested), or it was found that you were not the suspect, you are never justified in "fighting back."

Defenses to Resisting Arrest

There are several defenses to a charge of resisting arrest. As element #4 plainly says you need to knowingly resist arrest - which means you must be notified that 1) the person trying to make the arrest is actually a police officer, and 2) that they are in fact placing you under arrest. If the officer is not dressed like an officer, or announce themselves as police, or they do not inform you that you are under arrest, the resisting arrest charge may be able to be dismissed.

If the officer was not acting within their authority during the arrest, that could also be grounds for a motion to dismiss.

What Equitas Can Do for You

The attorneys at Equitas Law, LLP handle some of the most serious criminal cases in Massachusetts. If you are facing a resisting arrest charge you should consult an experienced attorney right away. The right attorney can get you the best results for your case and likely have you avoid any jail time. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, call us at (617) 723-4163 for a free case evaluation.

Criminal Defense FAQ

We Hope This Helps!

NO, you shouldn't! At least not without a lawyer after careful consideration.

Think about it. The police have a job, which is to solve crimes and bring criminal charges. The onlyreason for them to call you is because they are looking for evidence and there is no better evidence than your statement. Very often, they are calling you because they don't have enough evidence to charge you yet and they're looking to make their case with your statements.

They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. There is nothing to "clear up". They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Seriously, don't speak to the police without consulting a criminal defense lawyer first.

First, unless you have committed a very serious crime, the chances of you going to jail are minimal (especially if you hire a good attorney). In any event, this is not something that typically would happen until many months down the road.

We're not going to lie to you, if the prosecution can meet the burden of proof on your case, there will be consequences, ranging from a slap on the wrist to jail time. Our job is to minimize the consequences and to eliminate them, if possible.

Of course, this depends on the charges, your criminal history and many other factors, so please feel free to reach out and we can give you a more specific answer.

No, no, no, no no! Even if you decide to eventually take responsibility, your lawyer should negotiate the best deal possible. What this means depends entirely the circumstances of your criminal charge, but very often you can take responsibility and still avoid a permanent criminal record. It may also involve:

  • Pre-Trial Probation or Pre-Trial Diversion
  • An outright Dismissal of your charges upon payment of court costs
  • A Continuation Without a Finding, including the length and terms of your probation (after which the case is dismissed)
  • A period of straight probation without a jail or state prison sentence
  • A suspended sentence, where a sentence is imposed, but not served unless probation is violated
  • A lesser sentence to jail or prison and less severe conditions upon release

This is to say nothing of the fact that your case may be winnable on a motion to dismiss or at trial!

In many cases, yes. Some cases have issues that may justify a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss for lack of evidence.

Others can and should be taken to trial, or call for a plea as soon as possible so the client can move on with their life.

The decision on what to do really depends on the facts of the case and your individual goals.

This is why it is important to speak to an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney who can quickly evaluate your specific case to see if there are any issues worth pursuing.

Related Content:

Strategy and Potential Issues in Massachusetts Criminal Cases

As a criminal defense lawyer, the fact that you clicked this accordion drives me crazy!

No, do NOT talk to the police without a lawyer. They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Their job is to gather evidence of crimes and there is no better evidence than your statement.

It may be that we ultimately decide to give a statement, but only if it will help your case and after careful consideration!

It is very possible that you can avoid a criminal record, especially if you don't have a significant criminal history and and it is a relatively minor offense.

The answer to this question is very case-specific, depending on the facts of your case and what we decide to do with it.

A vast majority of our criminal cases cases are handled on a flat fee basis, ranging from a clerk-magistrate's hearing to superior court or federal court cases.

All we can tell you is that we are always up front and honest, and will treat you fairly. We're also willing to work with you on payments if we can, as this is not all about the money.

Of course, it is prefereable to have an attorney at the arraignment, but don't panic! First, you can call or text me at any time and I may be able to be there. If not, take a look at this link for all the information you need:

Arraignment in Massachusetts – What You Need to Know.

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