Top 5 Legal FAQs About Resisting Arrest

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 04, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Unfortunately, when faced with the real life question of what you're going to do when they come for you, you could end up facing additional charges for resisting arrest if you aren't as cooperative and docile as a baby calf on tranquilizers.

When being arrested, individuals need to be cautious about what they do, as even minor aggressions and accidents can result in resisting arrest charges. 

1. What's the Penalty for Running From the Police?

Running from the police can be seen as resisting arrest as well as fleeing. State laws will vary on the severity of the charges for resisting or fleeing, but generally, so long as no one was injured while resisting or fleeing, these will be misdemeanor offenses punishable by no more than a year in prison.

2. How Much Force Can an Officer Use to Make an Arrest?

When making an arrest, an officer may use an amount of force that is reasonably necessary to make the arrest or stop a suspect from fleeing. However, the use of force cannot put the public at risk, unless there is a real risk of injury to the public.

3. When to Sue the Police for Excessive Force?

If the officer uses an excessive amount of force, even if the suspect is guilty of a crime, even resisting arrest, a civil rights action can be maintained for excessive force. However, proof of the claim can often be difficult without objective evidence, such as video footage or unbiased witness testimony.

4. When Are Police Allowed to Open Fire?

When it comes to the use of deadly force, law enforcement officers are generally prohibited from opening fire unless they fear for their own lives, or there is imminent danger to the public. Even if a suspect is fleeing, unless they are considered an immediate danger to the public, officers will usually not be allowed to fire, though other less deadly uses of force, such as tasers, or rubber bullets, can frequently be used.

5. If I Fight a Police Dog, Is That Resisting Arrest?

Like service dogs, police dogs are working dogs and have more rights than a regular animal or pet. If a suspect is being restrained by a police dog, fighting back could result in serious criminal charges for resisting arrest or assaulting an officer. Though, conversely, if a dog is attacking, a person may have to fight back to survive as dog attacks can often be deadly and frequently can be considered excessive force.

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