Interacting with law enforcement can be a stressful experience, and at times, heightened emotions can lead to a charge of resisting arrest. Actions like refusing to enter police custody, pulling away, citing abuse, or fighting with the police can lead to a resisting arrest charge – sometimes on top of other criminal charges that led the police to interact with you in the first place.
If you have been charged with resisting arrest, it’s essential that you hire an experienced Pittsburgh defense lawyer to represent your best interests in the case. Having counsel to protect your interests and conduct discovery, assess the facts of the case, and defend your rights is crucial to reducing the penalties you face.
Resisting Arrest Laws in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, you can be charged with resisting arrest if:
- You act with the intent of preventing a public servant such as a police officer from arresting you or doing other police-related duties, and
- You create a significant risk of bodily injury to the arresting officer or employ means that justify force to overcome your resistance.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Pennsylvania
Resisting arrest is a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you face penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, you face other long-term consequences that come about from having a permanent criminal record, such as difficulty keeping or finding a job, difficulty keeping or finding student financial aid, and much more.
How to Defend Against Resisting Arrest Charges in PA
The Commonwealth bears the burden of proving that you acted with the intent of preventing a police officer from arresting you and that you created a significant risk of bodily injury. If you have been arrested, do not speak with the police or the prosecutors unless your attorney is with you. An experienced Pittsburgh defense lawyer will learn the evidence the Commonwealth has against you and seek to suppress any evidence illegally obtained during the arrest. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we work with our clients one-on-one to understand the details of their cases, thoroughly review photo and video footage from any police interactions, and begin building an aggressive defense strategy.