Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor, and usually occurs when the arrestee physically prevents an officer of the law from preforming his duty. If the individual being arrested resists in such a way that the officer deems violent, they can be further charged with assaulting an officer, or assault and battery on an officer.
Many acts are considered resisting arrest. Interfering with an officer’s attempt to restrain you with handcuffs and verbally or physically taunting an officer while he performs his duty are two examples.
A popular defense for resisting arrest is that the officer used excessive force. The arrestee is allowed to defend himself if they believe the officer is using excessive force.
What is Excessive Force?
Any force beyond what’s necessary to arrest a suspect and keep police and innocent bystanders safe is the accepted definition of excessive force. But when does a police officer’s actions to subdue a suspect become illegal? Is it when a choke hold is used to subdue a suspect? In some states it’s perfectly legal to do so if the officer deems it necessary.
One example of excessive force, as it relates to resisting arrest, might be the beating and kicking a suspect who just engaged in a high-speed car chase and a shootout with officers. Even though the suspect is displaying no concern for human life, the officers still must be upheld to a lawful code of behavior.
Unfortunately there’s no blanket legal document that explains exactly what excessive force is. The only real decisions can only be made in civil or criminal court by a judge who examines all the evidence. “Excessive” has varying meanings across different jurisdictions.
If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, you will need an experience attorney to defend you in court. Don’t hesitate — fill out the contact form on the right, and our criminal defense attorney will be in touch with you right away.