What to Know about Resisting Arrest

Whether you have an existing criminal record or are being arrested for a first offense, the fact remains: being arrested by a police officer is nerve-wracking. Even if you have not committed a crime, anyone’s first instinct would be to resist, fight back, or flee. This is a natural human response. Unfortunately, using force to resist arrest is a crime itself.

What is Resisting Arrest?

According to Maryland criminal law, resisting arrest is refusing to submit to a lawful arrest through the use of force. Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor in Maryland, punishable by a $5000 fine and up to three years in jail. The charge of resisting arrest can sometimes be accompanied by additional charges, such as disorderly conduct, assault of a police officer or aggravated assault.

Fleeing an officer or the scene of a crime is not the same as resisting arrest, as these are defined as their own crimes.

How Should I Act If I am Being Arrested?

The best way to act during an arrest is to fully follow the requests of the officers. This includes remaining calm no matter the situation. Take advantage of your rights and remember the oft-repeated phrase: “You have the right to remain silent.” Never lie while under arrest, but keep in mind that your words and actions during this time will either help or hurt you.

Police use of force has been a hotly debated topic, especially in the last few years. However, the burden of proof is on the police, not the person being arrested. If excessive force is used against you, try to remain calm. With that said, most police officers are determined to keep everyone around them safe, including those they arrest.

What are the Steps to Defend Against a Resisting Arrest Charge?

Resisting arrest is a more serious charge than it first appears. Courts and juries are more likely to side with an officer who has been assaulted by an arrestee than not. Fortunately, while the definition of resisting arrest is straightforward, the events surrounding the arrest can often be disputed. This is especially true if body cameras or police dashcams tell a different story.

As you work with the Law Office of C. Gregory Coburn, we will create a defense plan that tells your side of the story. If you feel that excessive force was used against you during your arrest, a full investigation is often the correct step to take to prove your case. Give our office a call today at (410) 723-3430. We always ensure the rights of those we defend are upheld, no matter the charge.