An arrest for a misdemeanor or felony charge can have serious consequences. Compounding any type of criminal charge in Pennsylvania with a charge for resisting arrest can make the consequences far more severe.
Simply expressing objection to an arrest does not necessarily constitute resistance. Here are some of the most important things that defendants should understand about how Pennsylvania defines resistance and the potential consequences.
What does resisting arrest mean legally?
Prosecutors must demonstrate a couple of key elements to prove that someone resisted arrest. First, they must show that a defendant intended to prevent a lawful arrest. Second, they must show that the act of resistance created a risk of injury to the arresting officer or any other person in close proximity.
What are the penalties?
In Pennsylvania, resisting arrest is a second degree misdemeanor. A conviction could result in a sentence of up to two years in prison. A defendant may also have to pay up to $5,000 in fines. These consequences may be in addition to any prison time or fees associated with the charge that was the basis for the arrest. If anyone sustained an injury during an act of resistance, it is possible that a defendant could face a charge for assaulting an officer or another form of battery.
Ultimately, whether a prosecutor can prove that someone resisted arrest beyond a reasonable doubt could depend largely on the testimony of the arresting officer. There are several possible defenses that may help defendants prove their innocence.