Resisting Arrest Defense Lawyers
When Pennsylvania police attempt to make a lawful arrest, you are legally required to comply. If you oppose the arrest in any way, you could be charged with resisting arrest. If the arresting officer feels that you are fighting against a lawful arrest, even if you are voicing your frustration or confusion, you could face even more serious charges.
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A charge of resisting arrest added to an underlying criminal offense can potentially lead to considerable jail time and hefty fines. Don’t let it jeopardize your future. Seek counsel from an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer at your first opportunity. An arrest does not mean you’re guilty of the crime. Our seasoned Montgomery County resisting arrest defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. are ready to build a powerful defense to your charges and protect your rights and freedom. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
What Qualifies as Resisting Arrest under Pennsylvania Law?
Any time an individual prevents a police officer from conducting a lawful arrest or any other duty by creating a severe risk of injury to the arresting police officer or anyone else, they can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. According to Title 18 P.A.C.S. § 5104, any person who acts or resists law enforcement in a way that requires police to use substantial force to quell the opposition can be criminally charged.
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What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove to Convict You of Resisting Arrest?
The prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a person for resisting arrest in Pennsylvania:
- The alleged offender had the intent to resist lawful arrest
- Their actions resisted a lawful arrest
- Their actions created a substantial risk of injury to someone else that required force to overcome
- The arresting officer had a legitimate reason to conduct a lawful arrest
If the prosecution cannot prove one of these elements, you cannot be found guilty of resisting arrest. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know how to challenge the arresting officer and other witnesses to create uncertainty in a judge or juror’s thinking. Consequently, it is essential to have skilled legal counsel who understands what the district attorney must prove and strategically uses the facts to reduce charges.
Consequences and Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Pennsylvania
A conviction of resisting arrest is considered a second-degree misdemeanor that can be punished by up to two years in jail and fines of up to $5,000. In Pennsylvania, there are two main defense strategies to resisting arrest charges:
- Unlawful Arrest
An unlawful arrest happens when someone who alleges they are acting under the rules of the law tries to make an arrest when they do not have the legal authority to do so. The most common situation which results in unlawful arrests is when the detaining police officer does not have a warrant or enough probable cause to take a suspect into their custody. In those instances, the defendant may not be found guilty of resisting arrest.
While used less frequently, an act of self-defense is also a valid defense to resisting arrest. Suppose the arresting officer acted with extreme force while trying to place you under arrest. In that case, you are allowed to defend yourself without it being used against you to qualify as establishing a significant risk of injury to the detaining law enforcement officer. However, keep in mind that to use this legal defense, you must not initiate the aggression.
Criminal Charges Related to Resisting Arrest
The misdemeanor crime of resisting arrest is always a secondary charge added to an initial charge in Pennsylvania. Resisting arrest typically goes hand in hand with the following primary charges:
- Drug crimes
- Theft crimes
- Underage drinking
Note that while resisting arrest is a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law, you may face harsher legal consequences if you act violently while resisting.
Get Help from Award-Winning Criminal Defense Lawyers in Montgomery County, PA
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Southeastern Pennsylvania, do not take these charges lightly. Consult Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. to learn your legal rights and how we can help defend them. For over 65 years, our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients charged with resisting arrest throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. When your freedom and rights are on the line, we work vigorously to investigate your case and achieve the most favorable outcome, like a not guilty verdict or a dismissal of your case.
Our Montgomery County criminal defense team includes former prosecutors who bring insightful knowledge to how the court system works. Talk to our experienced resisting arrest lawyers today about your situation. Schedule your free consultation by calling 215-822-7575 or complete our contact form.