When It’s Your Word Against Theirs, It’s Time To Fight Resisting Arrest Charges
Resisting arrest charges in Maryland can quickly devolve into a he-said, she-said situation – especially if the accused was part of a march, rally, or other peaceful protest.
Resist the charges with a fair day in court with The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC, at your side, ensuring that the courts acknowledge more than just the police officer’s side of the story.
When Does Maryland Law Enforcement Charge Someone With Resisting Arrest?
Legally, Maryland police can charge someone with “resisting arrest” when the individual interferes with any law enforcement official making a legal arrest. That arrest can be your own or someone else’s.
“Resisting” can be even the smallest amount of physical force used to keep the police from handcuffing you or taking you to jail.
The charge of resisting arrest is often in conjunction with other crimes, which is where the “legal arrest” part of the statute comes into play.
This charge is especially fraught in Baltimore and in Maryland in general after the 2015 arrest of Freddie Grey, who was allegedly resisting his arrest, per the police testimony. He later died while in police custody.
Can I Legally Resist Arrest In Maryland If I Don’t Think I’m Committing A Crime, As Part Of A Protest Or Rally?
Not really. There aren’t any explicit legal loopholes in Maryland for those in a rally or a protest to not be charged with resisting arrest if the circumstances warrant.
Police file resisting arrest charges when they’ve been stopped from making what they consider to be a “legal” arrest. Regardless of whether you think you’ve committed a crime or not, the police have asserted that you have.
And, even if you haven’t, resisting arrest is technically crime – so then they can arrest you anyway! At least, until you have your day in court, where you can prove the arrest was unlawful.
That very real scenario means that your best and safest option is to peacefully adhere to police instructions while being arrested.
Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong during a protest rally or you think you’re being persecuted due to your race – do not resist arrest. Do not exert any amount of physical force at all against the police officer in question.
Your safety is most important. Do not resist arrest. We can fight the bad charges once you’re safely out of custody.
Without evidence of a proper breaking of the law, they cannot hold you for very long. Otherwise, your defense lawyer may press charges of habeas corpas, which is basically illegally keeping anyone confined without lawful cause.
Afterwards, you can get the record of the arrest expunged if the detention does not result in any charges.
Now, “not resisting arrest” doesn’t mean not fighting the charges!
Once in police custody, you can refuse to speak with anyone without your legal counsel present. Such silence cannot be used against you in court as a tacit “admission” of guilt.
However, anything you do say can be twisted in the prosecution’s favor. So, just ask for your lawyer and start planning for the upcoming hearings and possible trial where you prove without a doubt that it was an unlawful arrest.
What Are Possible Sentences For Resisting Arrest Convictions?
Maryland law protects its law enforcement and wants to ensure anyone caught interfering with their duties are punished severely.
Therefore, resisting arrest convictions are misdemeanors which can result in up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Related charges to resisting arrest include trying to escape from law enforcement, including during the arrest itself. Specifically:
- Escape in the second degree convictions – when someone “departs from custody” without authorization or fails to obey a court order to go to jail – are misdemeanor offenses with up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Escape in the first degree convictions – possibly charged when resisting arrest with a weapon or attack that can be construed as assault – are felony offenses with up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
What Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Do To Help Resisting Arrest Charges?
Your legal defense begins the moment a police officer puts you in handcuffs, claiming that you “resisted” or interfered in their execution of duties.
A resisting arrest charge becomes a “he said, she said” political situation – and courts can be tilted to favor their law enforcement personnel. After all, you’re a stranger to them, and the police are what enforce their edicts and Maryland state laws.
Therefore, as soon as you’re arrested, you should have your lawyer at the precinct or station, ready to defend your personal rights and make sure you’re not detained any longer than strictly necessary. They can even help arrange bail, if the police have other charges against you.
When charged with resisting arrest in court, the Maryland prosecutor must prove three things:
- You or another individual were actively under arrest.
- The arrest was “lawful” and legal.
- You resisted the arrest “using force.”
Your criminal defense lawyer can attack the prosecution’s case at any one of these points.
Were you really “under arrest” when protesting against the police’s actions?
Did the police have reasonable cause to suspect you of breaking another law, thus resulting in a “legal” arrest? Or, did the real crime not happen until you were unjustly arrested – thus, making this charge obsolete?
What about “force”? Did you actually “use force” during the arrest, interfering with their duties? Or, did something else altogether happen?
A criminal defense lawyer who has defended against unlawful arrests will know how to build your case to ensure the courts understand that charges of resisting arrest simply don’t hold water.