Punishment for the Charge of Resisting Arrest in MA

Nobody can fault another human being for protecting themself or a loved one from a perceived threat. Most of us would not stand idly by when we see something that seems wrong to us, and the result is often a more just society. Resisting arrest in many cases is a byproduct of this valuable mentality.

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor in the state of Massachusetts and is punishable by up to 2 ½ years in jail and a fine of up to $500. This charge cannot be sealed. Charging for resisting arrest can be arbitrary. Even the smallest signs of avoidance, such as a step back, can lead to this charge. If there is no evidence of force used against the police officer, the charge will likely be settled out of court. This charge often accompanies another, usually the charge the individual was actually being arrested for when they were then charged with resisting that arrest. It can be prosecuted separately, however.

The prosecution must prove 4 things beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. Defendant prevents a police officer from arresting the defendant or another.
  2. Police officer was acting in his official authority.
  3. Defendant used or threatened the use of physical force or violence; OR used other means which created a substantial risk of bodily injury to the officer or another.
  4. Defendant did this knowingly.

Defenses may include that you did not know the individual was a police officer at the time of the incident, or that you were acting in self-defense. It is not a defense that the arrest was unlawful, as long as the officer was acting in his official authority and was not using unreasonable or excessive force. In other words, if the officer was making a good-faith judgement, even if incorrect, the charge can be brought.

Resisting arrest charges are common alongside charges of OUI, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug crimes, and crimes involving theft.

In the chaos that ensues during the course of many arrests, lines are blurred and passions take over. In the heat of the moment we may act in a way that does not represent who we are, and without all the information it is hard to ascertain the right thing to do. Your record should not be marked for years to come based on a desire to protect yourself, or a loved one, and certainly not where your actions were based on a lack of understanding of the situation. We can help.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest or any other crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. It is our goal to keep you out of jail, and to keep your record clean. If you are facing charges for any criminal offense, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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