Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor crime in Massachusetts. It is punishable by up to two and a half years in jail. Massachusetts General Laws C 268 s 32b defines resisting arrest.
What is Resisting Arrest in Massachusetts?
Resisting arrest is when someone prevents or tries to prevent a police officer from making an arrest. It can happen in two ways. First, using or threatening to use force is one form of resisting arrest.
The other form of resisting arrest is going anything which creates a substantial risk of causing injury. For instance, climbing a high fence would be considered resisting arrest because there is a substantial risk of injury.
In any resisting arrest case four elements must be prove. First, the defendant prevented, or attempted to, the officer from making an arrest.
Second, the officer was acting under authority of law. Under the authority of law is when a police officer who makes a good faith arrest while working regular and assigned duties. Also, the defendant must know the person making the arrest is a police officer.
Third, the defendant resisted. Under Massachusetts law, the defendant can resist in two ways. The first way is threatening or using force against the police officer. The second way is by doing something that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury.
Fourth, the defendant did this knowingly to prevent an arrest. Here, the defendant must know two things. The person attempting to arrest them is a police officer. And, second, they are trying to make an arrest. The officer’s words and actions communicating the arrest are important factors.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Ma
There are defenses to the charge of resisting arrest. An experienced criminal attorney can help you develop the best defense. One potential defense is that the defendant did not know the person was attempting an arrest. This is an effective defense when the officer is in plainclothes and driving an unmarked car.
The officer’s words and actions must be clear that they were attempting to make an arrest. If the person did not know the officer was attempting an arrest that may be a defense.
The timing of the arrest may also be a potential defense. Massachusetts law requires any resistance to occur before the arrest. Post arrest conduct is not a violation of this law. Therefore, timing may be a potential defense.
Running from the police is not resisting arrest. As long as the person did not create a substantial danger by running they cannot be convicted of resisting arrest.
Finally, the arresting officer only needs a good faith basis to make an arrest. Therefore, arguing that the arrest was unlawful is not a defense.
A Massachusetts criminal attorney can review your case, examine all reports and help you present the best defense to a resisting arrest charge.
Massachusetts Resisting Arrest Attorney
Attorney Patrick Donovan is an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney. Before becoming a criminal lawyer, Patrick Donovan served as an assistant district attorney. Attorney Donovan uses that training and experience to get the best result for each of his clients.
Call the Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan today for your free initial consultation at 617 479-1800.