If you are stopped by a police officer and are accused of resisting arrest, you could face serious penalties. Resisting arrest usually includes actions that are intended to interfere with a police officer’s attempt to detain or arrest you.
The penalties for resisting arrest can vary based on the circumstances, but generally you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction will carry more severe penalties.
You may also be ordered to pay fines, which can range from hundreds of dollars to several thousand dollars. The court may sentence you to jail, with can last a few days or months or prison, which can last several years.
Alternatively, you may receive probation which means that you will be monitored to ensure you are meeting court conditions like visits with a probation officer and drug testing. In other situations, the court may order you to complete community service.
One common defense is that the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you. If the arrest is unlawful, then you may be able to argue that the resistance was appropriate. Also, if you reasonably believed that you or another person were in danger of physical harm, you may be able to use a self-defense or defense of others strategy to challenge the accusation.
If you were not aware that the person arresting you was a police officer, that may also be used as a defense as well as if the police officer arrested you instead of the person who committed the crime.
You may also be able to use duress or coercion as a defense if you were threatened or intimidated by the police officer.