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Resisting Arrest in Massachusetts

The crime of resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense in Massachusetts; it is punishable by up to 2.5 years in the house of corrections. An individual with little to no record is likely to receive a continuance without a finding or possibly pretrial probation on the charge of resisting arrest.

Resisting arrest is an odd offense in that you cannot be found guilty of this crime and it cannot be sealed; it is considered to be a public order offense and therefore cannot be sealed. In that respect, many Massachusetts citizens are confused by this charge and think that the law does not make sense as there are more serious crimes that people commit and are able to seal.

Often times resisting arrest can be overcharged when something minor occurs during an arrest. A lot of times officers may charge resisting arrest if you flinched or were nervous; there are many reasons why an officer may interpret a persons seemingly normal actions as resisting arrest. In cases where there is no outright push, punch, or force on the officer, there is a likelihood that a resolution may be negotiated with the district attorney.

Resisting arrest, while often times not a singular charge, is a crime that can be prosecuted in a court of law in Massachusetts. In order to prove a person has resisted arrest the commonwealth must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Four Elements of a Resisting Arrest Charge
Four Elements of a Resisting Arrest charge

As mentioned, a resisting arrest charge is commonly coupled with another, more serious, charge that the police believed they had probable cause to arrest you with. A charge of resisting arrest may also be paired with assault and battery on a police officer; you can read more about assault and battery on a police officer here. This charge may surface when an officer makes claims of being touched without giving their consent. Some of these cases, the officer may have been over-aggressive with the defendant and this charge may be used to justify the officer’s actions.

I have had a few resisting arrest trials, one of which the officer claimed the resisting happened as the result of an elbow. The officer grabbed the clients arm and his natural reflex was to move his elbow, not realizing the officer, whom was shorter than the defendant, was there. There was no injury to the officer that suggested it was done maliciously or intentionally. Another client was facing a resisting arrest charge and was headed to trial. My client had autism and was nervous and scared when initially contacted by the officer. In both of these cases the jury found that the person did not commit the crime of resisting arrest. Read more today about some of our recent case results here.

If you have any questions about a resisting arrest charge in Massachusetts or assault and battery on a police officer feel free to contact Attorney DelSignore today.