Being arrested is often a terrifying experience, especially if you have never been arrested before. The panic and fear involved with being arrested may cause you to make mistakes and do or say something that you shouldn’t.
This can sometimes lead to an additional charge of resisting arrest, which can be a felony and carries serious consequences. Therefore, it is important to understand exactly what resisting arrest means.
Resisting can be active or passive
Active resistance includes pushing, shoving or kicking the person trying to make the arrest. Hiding, running away or even something as simple as refusing to open your door to officers are examples of passive resistance.
Under Michigan law, an individual who resists or obstructs a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing their duty under the law is guilty of resisting arrest. Obstructing is defined as using or threatening to use physical force or knowingly failing to comply with a lawful demand.
The person performing the duty is not limited to a local, state or municipal police officer. It may also be a campus police officer, security officer, conservation officer, constable, firefighter, an emergency medical service technician, peace officer or someone performing a search and rescue mission.
Resisting arrest is a felony and carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and jail time of up to 2 years. If the resistance involves physical force and results in bodily injury to the person performing the arrest, the penalties substantially increase.
Defending a charge of resisting arrest
There are many potential defenses to a charge of resisting arrest. You must know that the person arresting you is performing their legal duty. They may not be in their official uniform or produce any identification showing that they are an officer.
You must also intentionally resist the arrest. You may make a slight movement, like moving your arm away from the officer, not knowing they are trying to arrest you. Either of these scenarios may establish a defense.
Additionally, officers are required to use reasonable force when making an arrest. If their force is unreasonable, you may have a defense to a resisting arrest charge. A resisting arrest charge must be taken seriously. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney may help understand your rights and avoid a conviction.