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Mark I. Cohen, ESQ. NYC Criminal Attorney

What Happens When You Resist Arrest in New York?


No matter the situation, it is never in a person’s best interests to resist arrest. Resisting arrest complicates cases for individuals guilty of the accused crimes and leads to additional charges. Even when you are 100% sure you did not commit a crime, cooperate with the police officer making the arrest, and let your attorney help you prove your innocence. Do not resist arrest because even if you are innocent of the crime in question, once you resist arrest, you become guilty of a separate offense since resisting arrest is a crime on its own in New York.

Definition of Resisting Arrest

According to New York penal law 205.30, a person resists arrest when they intentionally prevent or try to prevent a police or peace officer from effecting a lawful arrest. You can also be found guilty of resisting arrest when you prevent or try to prevent someone else’s arrest.

You can resist arrest in several ways, and, unfortunately, proving that a person resisted arrest is usually an easy task for officers. A person doesn’t have to flee a scene for them to be accused of resisting arrest. Putting up any struggle during an arrest can be enough to prove that you resisted. Sometimes, even putting your arms up or swinging them instead of lowering them and placing them where an officer instructs you to place them can be detrimental to your case. Therefore, when a police officer is authorized to arrest you, comply with whatever they say, and avoid any physical actions that can be misconstrued.

Resisting arrest is considered a class A misdemeanor in New York. Therefore, when charged with resisting arrest, you risk facing the same penalties people convicted of a crime like petit larceny face. That is because both petit larceny and resisting arrest are class A misdemeanors. Such crimes are punishable by 2 or 3 years of probation or a monetary fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, individuals guilty of such offenses risk spending up to one year in jail.

What Happens When an Underlying Charge Is Dismissed?

Resisting arrest is a crime on its own, so even if the underlying criminal charge is dismissed, you can still be convicted if you resisted arrest.

On the other hand, if the underlying charge is not dismissed, you could face penalties for both the underlying crime and the crime of resisting arrest. That means that if the underlying charge is a DWI charge, you risk facing the consequences for both the offenses of DWI and resisting arrest.

What Should You Do When Charged With Resisting Arrest?

It is important to remember that even after being charged with resisting arrest, you can defend yourself with the help of an attorney. If, for example, you did not resist arrest, but an officer misinterpreted your actions, you can use that as a defense. Also, if you resisted in self-defense, your attorney can help you prove that.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you, a person you know, or a loved one has been charged with resisting arrest or any other crime, and you (they) need legal help, contact NYC criminal attorney Mark I. Cohen today to receive the help you need.


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