Resisting arrest is a serious federal offense punishable by up to eight years in prison. Unfortunately, many are unfairly accused of this crime, being victims of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers. To speak to an attorney who can reduce or even dismiss the charges, contact a member of our legal team today.

The Element of Force

Resisting arrest is a charge commonly imposed by prosecutors against defendants. However, before a person can be truly convicted of this crime, prosecutors must be able to demonstrate that the accused used force in resisting arrest. Compliance with this requirement depends on the specific circumstances of each case. Courts have declared that a threat is sufficient to comply with the statute as long as such threat causes the federal officer to anticipate bodily harm during the arrest. Courts assess the seriousness of the threat and see if:

  • The person had the apparent and current ability to execute it
  • The threat was accompanied by suspicious gestures
  • The defendant was in hostile company or under threatening circumstances.

Even if these requirements are met, prosecutors must still present evidence that:

  • The defendant created a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to an officer;
  • The defendant’s actions justified the officer’s use of considerable force to overcome his resistance.

This type of analysis is extremely specific with respect to the facts, making it especially important for those who have been accused of this crime to hire an attorney to thoroughly investigate the case and be equipped to aggressively defend you on their behalf.

The consequences of the sentence

Resisting arrest is generally treated as a misdemeanor which, while less momentous than a felony, could mean imprisonment for up to one year. However, if prosecutors allege that a defendant made physical contact with the officer while resisting arrest or intending to commit another serious crime at that time, the defendant could face a sentence of up to eight years in prison if convicted. The sentence could also increase if there is evidence that he used a deadly or dangerous weapon while resisting, or while inflicting bodily injury on the officer. It is important to note that dangerous weapons are not limited to firearms and knives, they may also include safer items capable of inflicting injury.

Contact our legal team today

If you have been accused of resisting arrest or simply of obstructing a federal official in the discharge of your duties, call (305) 670-9919 to schedule a free evaluation of your case with an experienced federal crime attorney in Miami. Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our legal team can help you today.