Facing a criminal charge for any type of offense in Maryland is stressful and worrisome. A criminal charge can hurt your reputation, and having a record of criminal activity can set you back in life. If you’re facing a charge of resisting arrest, you should know that there may be viable defenses for your charge. A Baltimore resisting arrest lawyer will explore all the details of your case and help you challenge your charge so you can move past this unsettling experience and safeguard your future.
If police sought to arrest you and you acted in such a way as to avoid being arrested, your behavior could be charged as resisting arrest. If the law enforcement officer attempting to arrest you was making a lawful arrest, they have the authority to claim that you were hindering their duties, which can mean an additional criminal charge to an already serious situation. Don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel regarding this matter.
Interfering with law enforcement is a serious crime in Maryland. Under Maryland Criminal Code Section 9-408, a person may not “intentionally resist a lawful arrest; or interfere with an individual who the person has reason to know is a police officer who is making or attempting to make a lawful arrest or detention of another person.”
Police officers typically tack on a charge of resisting arrest to other charges. When police officers attempt to arrest a person for a crime, they can charge that person with resistance if they actively attempt to make their arrest more difficult.
Resisting arrest is a vaguely-defined crime which allows police officers to charge a suspect they perceive as a nuisance with resistance. Some examples of behavior that may lead to a charge of resisting arrest in Baltimore are:
- Running away or attempting to hide from law enforcement
- Struggling with the arresting officer
- Threatening the officer
- Trying to help another person avoid being arrested
Slowly responding to the arresting officer or cursing at them is not grounds for a charge of resisting arrest, nor is questioning an officer’s attempt to arrest you. However, these actions may escalate an already hostile situation and can make it more likely that an officer will charge you with resistance if you take physical measures against them.
On its own, resisting arrest is a serious crime that may lead to the following penalties:
- Up to 3 years in jail and/or
- Up to $5,000
Talk to your lawyer about the details of your case. Attorney Hillel Traub can give you a realistic idea of what you’re likely to experience as you work toward a favorable resolution to your case. With a competent lawyer on your side, you may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges or have your charges dismissed. Your lawyer will also discuss possible defenses to your case.
In Maryland, it is acceptable to resist an unlawful arrest; therefore, it may be possible to challenge your resisting arrest charge if your lawyer can prove that the officers did not follow the proper procedure when trying to arrest you. This is the unlawful arrest defense. There are a few others:
- Self-defense: You have the right to protect yourself from police misconduct, even if this means using reasonable force against police officers attempting to hurt you. An officer who uses excessive force when trying to arrest you makes the arrest an unlawful one. If your lawyer can show that the officers in your case used or attempted to use excessive force, it may be possible to have your case dismissed. However, if the officer used force in response to your use of force while resisting them, it will disqualify this defense.
- False allegations: Your lawyer must prove that none of your actions at the time of arrest count as resistance. For example, if you made sarcastic remarks or were generally rude to the officers, but did not physically try to avoid arrest, you can show that you did not resist arrest and possibly have this charge dismissed.
- Officer failed to identify himself: You cannot intentionally resist arrest if the police officer trying to detain you does not make it known that he is law enforcement. If the officer does not identify himself while arresting you, and it is not obvious who they are, you cannot face consequences for resisting arrest.
Attorney Hillel Traub of the Law Office of Hillel Traub has more than 25 years of experience fighting traffic charges throughout Maryland. If you were pulled over in your vehicle and arrested, and you were charged with resisting arrest, you should use all available defenses to have this charge removed from your record.
As a former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, Hillel Traub understands the complexities of criminal traffic cases. You can trust him to pursue the best resolution for your case and protect your reputation. Call (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.