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What Is Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor criminal offense that entails an individual meeting one of several conditions: eluding the arresting police officer, providing fake identification to the arresting police officer, or threatening to use or actually using force against the arresting police officer. An individual charged with resisting arrest is a criminal charge added to the original charge with which caused the arrest in the first place.

For a resisting arrest charge to hold in a court of law, the individual must have fulfilled one of the 3 aforementioned conditions as well as being legally arrested. However, there are several ways in which a resisting arrest charge can be dismissed. An individual accused of resisting arrest may actually have the right to do so if police brutality or excessive force was used or if the arrest was not legal in any way. If excessive force or illegal arrest can be proven by the individual, the person was within his or her rights to resist arrest and the charge would be dropped.

Cases wherein resisting arrest is justified are rare, and to demonstrate just cause is difficult to establish in court. A caveat faced by judges who try these cases is deciding that the arrested party is innocent may set a precedent and make it difficult for law enforcement officers to fulfill their duty. If a judge decides that the arrested person has justifiable grounds to contest resisting arrest, all other cases of resisting arrest may refer to this one cases for precedence.

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