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How To Get A Resisting Arrest Charge Dropped In New York?

Last updated on: February 20, 2024

By Lebedin Kofman LLP

Resisting arrest or obstructing the police in arresting another person is illegal under New York law. According to § 205.30 of the New York Penal Code, a person is guilty of resisting arrest if he or she “intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer or peace officer from effecting an authorized arrest of himself or another person.”

Resisting arrest is a class A misdemeanor in New York. If a person is convicted of resisting arrest, they can be subject to the following:

  • Up to one year in prison or three years on probation, and/or,
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Additional charges to a resisting arrest charge can also be filed depending on the circumstances of the arrest. A person can also be charged with disorderly conduct or assault. Before you make any decisions, it is important to speak with a qualified New York criminal defense lawyer.

Lebedin Kofman Case Result

People V. J.

Our client was charged with forcible touching, resisting arrest, and sexual abuse in the third degree in New York County criminal court in Manhattan. Lebedin Kofman defended this case for almost 2 years and would not accept any plea deal. These cases are very difficult in New York County as the prosecutors generally will not allow a deal without the client getting a criminal record. As our client was totally innocent, we could not allow that to happen. We were able to secure a full DISMISSAL of all charges for our very happy client in this case!

Charges included: 

1  PL 130.52(1)

2 PL 130.52(2)

3 PL 205.30

4 PL 130.55

Forcible Touching (defendant #1: 1 count) 

Resisting Arrest (defendant #1: 1 count)

Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree (defendant #1: 1 count)

Resisting Arrest Definition

Resisting arrest is a legal term that refers to the act of actively opposing or obstructing a law enforcement officer in the lawful execution of their duties to make an arrest. It encompasses a range of actions that hinder the process of apprehension and can result in criminal charges. Let’s delve into the definition and elements of resisting arrest to gain a clearer understanding.

Elements of Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest involves charges against individuals who obstruct, resist, or delay law enforcement officers while they are performing their official duties. To establish the offense of resisting arrest, several key elements must be present:

  • Intentional Resistance: The defendant must have intentionally resisted or obstructed the law enforcement officer. This means that the defendant purposely acted in a manner that impeded, hindered, or delayed the arrest. It is important to note that the intention behind the actions is considered, rather than the actual result or harm caused.
  • Knowledge of Law Enforcement Officer: The defendant must have known or reasonably should have known that they were resisting a “law enforcement officer.” This element ensures that the person being apprehended was aware of the official capacity of the officer involved.
  • Lawful Discharge of Duties: The law enforcement officer must have been lawfully discharging their official duties. This means that the officer was properly engaged in activities such as investigating a crime or conducting a traffic stop. It is crucial to understand that even if the officer arrests the wrong person, or if the charges are dropped or the defendant is acquitted later, the officer’s actions can still be deemed lawful.

Actions Considered Resisting Arrest

Various actions can be judged as “resisting arrest” if they occur before or during the process of making an arrest. Some common examples include:

  • Physical Struggle: Engaging in physical resistance or struggling with an officer, which may involve the use of force.
  • Threatening Violence: Making threats of violence against an officer, thereby impeding their duties.
  • Attempting to Flee: Running away from, hiding from, or evading the police to avoid arrest.
  • Obstructing the Officer: Physically obstructing or getting in the way of an officer while they are performing their duty.

Understanding the definition and elements of a resisting arrest offense is crucial for both individuals and law enforcement professionals. By recognizing the actions that constitute resisting arrest, we can promote a clearer understanding of the law and foster a safer and more respectful relationship between the public and law enforcement agencies.

Actions Considered Resisting Arrest Description
Physical Struggle Engaging in physical resistance or struggling with an officer, which may involve the use of force.
Threatening Violence Making threats of violence against an officer, thereby impeding their duties.
Attempting to Flee Running away from, hiding from, or evading the police to avoid arrest.
Obstructing the Officer Physically obstructing or getting in the way of an officer while they are performing their duty.

Resisting Arrest Under PL 205.30

The law on resisting arrest was created as a deterrent to help protect police against individuals who might want to flee or fight back in the process of getting arrested. It also helps ensure that the process of legal arrests goes as smoothly as possible given that they can be stress and anxiety-inducing situations. However, complications might ensue when the defendant acts out in the heat of the moment, regardless of how simple or insignificant their actions are.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way in which resisting arrest can be defined. It does not take much for a police or peace officer to accuse a defendant of resisting arrest and the act is up for interpretation by the arresting party. A defendant can verbally protest or object to the arrest but, even without actively fleeing, conducting any form of physical struggle or disagreement uncooperative to the arrest can count as resistance. A charge of resisting arrest can be filed against a defendant regardless of the conduct of the resistance, even if it was merely pushing a police officer away or raising their hands to prevent being handcuffed.

It may be tempting to protest being charged with resisting arrest in addition to underlying charges that caused the arrest in the first place but you should not act rashly in the heat of the moment. You have rights under the law but you may be able to have more success defending those rights with the presence and help of legal counsel.

Resisting Arrest Penalty

Resisting arrest is a serious offense that can have severe and long-lasting consequences. The consequences of this misconduct may include imprisonment for up to 364 days or more, probation for 2 or more years, and a fine of up to $1,000 for each class A misdemeanor or more. Moreover, a conviction for resisting arrest can create a permanent criminal record that can negatively impact an individual’s ability to secure employment, housing, or even loans.

It is worth noting that non-compliance with law enforcement instructions during an arrest can exacerbate the situation, putting both the arrested and law enforcement officials in jeopardy. It is critical to comply with the officer’s directives and seek legal assistance as soon as possible in the event of a disagreement with the charges.

Criminal lawyer in NY

If you or someone you know is facing charges for resisting arrest in New York City, it is critical to seek legal representation from an accomplished Manhattan criminal defense lawyer. A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and provide you with the best defense possible under the circumstances.

At Lebedin Kofman LLP, criminal defense attorney Russ Kofman and our team of experienced legal professionals may be able to assist you in mitigating charges, reducing penalties, or even dismissing charges entirely. Contact us at (646) 663-4430 to schedule a consultation.

How Can One Get Charges Of Resisting Arrest In New York Dismissed?

It is important to note that even if the original charges that caused the reason for the arrest are dismissed, the charge of resisting arrest may still stand alone. Getting the help of an experienced New York resisting arrest attorney is essential in making sure that your rights are protected.

To convict a defendant on charges of resisting arrest in New York, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following elements:

  • That the defendant intentionally and deliberately impeded, resisted, or obstructed a law enforcement officer from conducting a legal arrest
  • That the defendant was aware that the person they were resisting or obstructing was a law enforcement officer
  • That the law enforcement officer was engaged in the performance of their legal duties and acting lawfully

In the state of New York, law enforcement officers typically include police and peace officers. Security guards are considered private citizens and the laws on resisting arrest, therefore, do not apply to them.

Possible defenses to charges of resisting arrest are the following:

  • Self-defense – Police officers are allowed to use force as necessary to accomplish an arrest. However, if an arresting officer acts violently, the person being arrested may protect themselves in self-defense, especially if their health is being threatened. As an act of self-defense, the person resisting arrest must have done so after the arresting officer initiated the aggression.
  • Unlawful arrest – A person may be found not guilty of resisting arrest if the arrest was done unlawfully, meaning, without a warrant or probable cause. It is not advisable, however, to argue the legality of an arrest as it is happening especially if the officer is acting in their capacity lawfully. It would be better to determine the legality of arrest when you have legal counsel and help on your side.

These are just some defenses that may be useful to get charges of resisting arrest dismissed and should not be assumed as legal advice. It is crucial to note that each case is different and the circumstances of one case of resisting arrest may be significantly different from another.

Can Evading Arrest Be Dismissed?

When facing charges for evading arrest, also known as resisting arrest, individuals often wonder if these charges can be dismissed. Evading arrest is a criminal offense that occurs when an individual intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer from executing a lawful arrest. This is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries serious potential penalties including up to one year in jail. However, the dismissal of such charges is not unheard of and may depend on various factors.

The possibility of dismissal may arise if the arrest itself was unlawful. If the arresting officer lacked probable cause or if there were violations of the defendant’s rights during the arrest process, the charge of evading arrest may be challenged. Additionally, if the actions of the individual did not constitute a clear attempt to resist arrest, as defined under the law, this may also lead to dismissal.

Furthermore, in cases where the underlying crime leading to an arrest is dismissed, it raises questions about the legitimacy of a subsequent resisting arrest charge. While generally, the charge stands alone, legal representation is crucial, as experienced lawyers can navigate the complexities of the legal system to argue for dismissal.

Individuals need to consult with a New York criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the details of their case and advise on the best course of action. With the right representation and under certain circumstances, charges for evading arrest can indeed be dismissed.

Getting the Help of an Experienced New York City Resisting Arrest Attorney

If you have been charged with an act of resisting arrest in New York City, Manhattan, or any of the surrounding boroughs, it is important to seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to help you understand your rights under the law. Every defendant has rights that need to be protected. 

At Lebedin Kofman LLP, we provide qualified legal counsel and aggressive representation to our clients. Our experienced New York City resisting arrest attorneys may be able to build a comprehensive legal strategy based on the specifics of your case. A conviction on charges of resisting arrest may have long-standing implications and consequences. Don’t leave your legal defense up to chance. Contact us today at (646) 663-4430 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our New York City criminal defense attorneys.

Criminal Defense

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