Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

A Quick Guide to Avoiding a Charge of Resisting Arrest

A juvenile in Roxbury is currently facing weapon charges after he was arrested with a loaded weapon. Law enforcement officers responding to an apartment building call saw the suspect moving among a group of teenagers, who were gathered in a hallway. While officers gathered the names of the teenagers in the group, the suspect attempted to conceal his weapon on the left side of his upper body. Later, law enforcement patted down the suspect and felt a firearm in the juvenile’s inner jacket pocket. 

After the juvenile attempted to escape, he underwent a violent struggle with law enforcement. This led to law enforcement confiscating a loaded handgun, which bore a defaced serial number. The juvenile was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and resisting arrest.

It is rarely the case that a person is charged with just resisting arrest. Instead, this charge is often added when a person is charged with another offense. This offense, however, results in additional penalties. To help you prepare for the various complications that can result from this charge, the following reviews some important steps to avoid being charged with resisting arrest.

Understand What Resisting Arrest Includes

In Massachusetts, the charge of resisting arrest is broad. A person can be charged with arresting arrest if that individual prevents a law enforcement officer from arresting him or her, or another individual. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes a surprised or panicked reaction to being arrested can lead to this charge.

Know the Penalties

A person charged with resisting arrest can end up facing some serious penalties. These penalties include imprisonment of up to two and a half years and/or a fine of $500. Given the serious nature of these penalties, it is often in your best interest to avoid being charged with the offense at all. 

Avoid a Resisting Arrest Charge

If law enforcement arrests you, it is critical to remain calm. It is also important to avoid running or hiding from the police. If you are asked for your identification during this process, you must avoid giving either a fake ID or false identification. You do have a right, however, for the law enforcement officer to reveal their identity. You also have the right to question on what grounds the law enforcement officer is arresting you.

You Have Defenses

Unless a witness is present, it can be difficult to establish what happened during your arrest. Consequently, there are several strategies that you can use to defend against resisting arrest charges, which include:

  • That the arrest was unlawful

  • That law enforcement was using excessive force and you were defending yourself

  • That you did not actually resist the arrest

  • That law enforcement failed to provide adequate identification 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with resisting arrest in Massachusetts, an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can help. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.