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Resisting Arrest Defense

Being charged with resisting arrest in Philadelphia has the potential to result in extremely serious penalties. Further, it is very common for people who have been charged with resisting arrest to also be charged with additional crimes, making the defendant’s legal situation even more perilous.

If you or one of your family members was accused of resisting arrest by the Philadelphia Police Department, you need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is ready to fight aggressively on your behalf. Attorney Lauren Wimmer has extensive experience representing defendants accused of resisting arrest in Philadelphia. By dissecting the evidence against you and probing the accuracy of the arresting officer’s assertions, she may be able to have your charges reduced, or even have your case dismissed outright.

However, it is extremely important to the outcome of your case that you do not wait, and seek legal help immediately. For a free legal consultation with a Philadelphia resisting arrest lawyer, contact Wimmer Criminal Defense at (215) 712-1212 today.

What is the Definition of Resisting Arrest in Pennsylvania?

In order for a defendant to be convicted of resisting arrest in Pennsylvania, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to stop a police officer from making a lawful arrest, or carrying out any other duty as a law enforcement officer. Additionally, the prosecutor must also prove that either:

  • The defendant’s actions created a major risk of injury to the police officer, or to anyone else.
  • The defendant acted in a way that justified the officer in using significant force, or forced the officer to use significant force, in order to overcome the defendant’s actions.

The act of resisting arrest is defined under the Pennsylvania statute 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5104. Unlike many other criminal statutes, which can be rather lengthy with many special provisions and exceptions, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5104 is a succinct statute. It provides the following as Pennsylvania’s legal definition of resisting arrest:  

“A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, with the intent of preventing a public servant from effecting a lawful arrest or discharging any other duty, the person creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to the public servant or anyone else, or employs means justifying or requiring substantial force to overcome the resistance.”

As it may be apparent, there is some room for interpretation in this relatively vague definition, which a skilled defense attorney can use to a defendant’s advantage. For example, when is a risk of injury “substantial”? We can dispute this and each other element of the prosecution’s claims in pursuit of a favorable outcome against resisting arrest.

Penalty for Resisting a Police Officer in Philadelphia

In Pennsylvania, there are three distinct types of misdemeanors, which are differentiated by degree: first degree misdemeanors, followed by second degree misdemeanors and third degree misdemeanors.

These classifications are important for defendants and their loved ones to understand because they have a direct impact on sentencing in the event of conviction. While judges have a certain amount of discretion in sentencing convicted defendants, criminal classifications create ceilings on the sentences and fines that can be imposed for each type of misdemeanor.

Resisting arrest is a second degree misdemeanor under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5104. The maximum penalties for a second degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Sentence – Up to 2 years
  • Criminal Fine – Up to $5,000

In many cases, resisting arrest charges are compounded by an underlying charge that prompted the arrest. Sometimes this might not be true in a situation such as a defendant interfering with the arrest of a person other than himself or herself.  In most situations though, the defendant will also be fighting the charges that led him or her to be arrested in the first place.

It is critical to be represented by an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney in any circumstances involving a criminal charge. Quality representation becomes particularly important in cases where the defendant has been charged with two or more crimes. You will need an attorney who not only possesses a sophisticated understanding of potential defenses to resisting arrest, but also has experience handling the underlying charge that led to the arrest. In addition to charges of resisting arrest, criminal attorney Lauren Wimmer defends against a variety of other serious allegations in Philadelphia, including assault, drug possession, drug distribution, DUI, theft, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, sex crimes, and white collar crimes.

Our Philadelphia Resisting Arrest Defense Attorneys Can Help

For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact Lauren Wimmer today.