Resisting arrest is a charge that is always associated with another criminal charge. The initiating incident and offense is the underlying reason for the “arrest” part of resisting arrest. Therefore the reason for arrest must be clear and specific.
However, there is a substantial amount of subjective judgment when a police officer says you were resisting arrest. Any mild disobedience of a police officer can sometimes result in a resisting arrest charge.
A resisting arrest charge is often associated with other allegedly disruptive behavior, such as disorderly conduct or trespassing.
Massachusetts Resisting Arrest Laws & Penalties
Under the Massachusetts statute, The law says that using or even threatening to use any physical force against an officer in the course of an arrest is resisting arrest.
Even if the arrest itself is unlawful, that is not a defense for resisting arrest, if the officer was acting in “good faith”, under his authority.
It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that the police officer was attempting to make an arrest which was unlawful, if he was acting under color of his official authority, and in attempting to make the arrest he was not resorting to unreasonable or excessive force giving rise to the right of self-defense. A police officer acts under the color of his official authority when, in the regular course of assigned duties, he is called upon to make, and does make, a judgment in good faith based upon surrounding facts and circumstances that an arrest should be made by him.
Mass. Gen. Laws. Ch. 268 Sec. 32B
The key is that an officer must exercise good faith judgment that an arrest should be made by him. And if a resisting arrest charge only consists of “threatening” to use physical force, that can be highly subjective.
The penalty for resisting arrest in Massachusetts is:
- Up to 2 1/2 years in jail
- Up to a $500 fine
If you are accused of resisting arrest, give me a call or text me, and I’ll let you know how I can help you.
Interfering with a police officer
Interfering with a police officer is not an actual crime in Massachusetts, yet occasionally police will still attempt to charge this offense.
Interfering with criminal proceedings is a crime (Mass General Laws Chapter 268, Section 13B), but it applies to intimidation of a witness, or interfering with a criminal investigation, and not simply being annoying to a police officer in the course of his duties.