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The definition of resisting arrest

Updated November 21, 2016

Being arrested is upsetting, whether you've committed a crime or not. It can be tempting to resist arrest, but that's not something you should ever do. Resisting arrest can lead to additional criminal charges, and it places you and the arresting officers in greater danger.

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Definition of Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest is defined as any attempt or effort to refuse or prevent a lawful arrest. An arrest is considered lawful as long as the arresting officer follows proper police procedure when making the arrest.

Actions That Constitute Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest can include arguing with the arresting officer; struggling, fighting or resisting when being handcuffed or placed in a patrol car; running away from the crime scene; physically assaulting an officer; or brandishing a deadly weapon, whether or not it is used. Resisting arrest without violence is a misdemeanour charge. Resisting arrest in a violent way is a felony.

Grounds For Arrest

An officer can make an arrest if she has an arrest warrant, witnesses a crime being committed or has probable cause to believe the person she is arresting has been involved in a crime.

When an Arrest Occurs

If you are arrested, do not attempt to argue, flee or physically resist being taken into custody. If it is determined that you are innocent, you will not have to worry about facing charges for resisting arrest. If you are guilty, resisting arrest will only add to your list of charges.

Know Your Rights

If you are arrested, you cannot be charged with resisting arrest if you refuse to speak to the arresting officer. The right to remain silent is a constitutional right. If you are interrogated after your arrest, you have the right to have a lawyer with you during the interrogation. Cooperating with law enforcement officers during an arrest, regardless of your guilt or innocence, is the best strategy.

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About the Author

Hazel Baker has been writing professionally since 2003. She covers e-commerce, technology and legal topics for various online publications. Baker has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in history from Point Loma Nazarene University.

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