How to Avoid a Resisting Arrest Charge in Brooklyn, NY
A resisting arrest charge can make a bad situation even worse. It can be added onto additional charges, or can hover even when all your other charges are dropped and dismissed. You can also be charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration Defense, or OAG, which is very similar.
Worse, there are times when police officers slap a “resisting arrest” charge onto a defendant for doing very little at all.
What the Law Actually Says
Resisting arrest is covered by New York Penal Law 205.30. This law says:
“A person is guilty of resisting arrest when he intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer or peace officer from effecting an authorized arrest of himself or another person.”
This is a Class A misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to three years of probation, regardless of any other charges or penalties you might be facing.
Obviously this is very open to interpretation. The law doesn’t say you’ve resisted arrest only when you struggled or fought or threw a punch. It simply says that you “attempted to prevent” the authorized arrest. This gives law enforcement a lot of leeway to slap you with this particular charge.
Actions to Avoid
You can reduce your chances of being accused of resisting arrest by avoiding the following actions.
- Avoid verbal resistance. Arguing with police officers can be enough for a resisting arrest charge. Remain polite.
- Avoid attempting to run away. If you make the police chase you then you can be charged with resisting arrest.
- Avoid taking any physical actions like pushing, kicking, punching, or moving your arms in an attempt to avoid being handcuffed.
- Avoid spitting on the officer (some people do)!
- Avoid lying to police officers or trying to convince them of your innocence.
- Any use or possession of a weapon could lead to a resisting arrest charge, or can escalate an encounter with the police into something deadly.
- Avoid hiding, concealing, or transporting another person who you know the police wish to arrest.
By the time the police have decided to arrest you there is literally nothing you can do to stop them or to convince them to let you go. The best thing you can do is follow instructions, stay polite or at least quiet, and ask for a lawyer without giving any information other than your name.
Keep in mind that you can do everything right and still face a resisting arrest charge. For example, in one recent case an individual was charged with resisting arrest simply for asking police if they had a warrant to enter his home. Instead of producing the warrant they kicked down the door, tackled him to the ground, and arrested him. If the police are guilty of this kind of bad behavior in your case you should be sure to let your attorney know.