The police are supposed to work to serve and protect the public. This means patrolling neighborhoods, upholding the law, and stopping crime in progress. As is the nature of their profession, officers sometimes become confrontation with individuals. While this is expected from time-to-time, in some instances it leads to scuffles that can result in an individual facing criminal charges even if he or she isn’t accused of doing anything else wrong.
Under Pennsylvania law, it is a second degree misdemeanor to resist law enforcement. This includes trying to prevent a lawful arrest, but it also includes interfering with any other law enforcement duty. However, before a conviction can be obtained for this offense, prosecutors must show that the actions in question were intended to prevent arrest or interfere with a law enforcement duty. Prosecutors must also demonstrate that the defendant’s actions gave rise to a substantial risk of injury or required substantial force to be effectuated by law enforcement to carry out the arrest or duty in question.
A second-degree misdemeanor conviction is no small thing. It can result in jail time and fines, and it can seriously damage one’s reputation. Allegations of this offense can also play into other pending criminal charges to show aggressiveness and support for why arrest was resisted.
This is why those who are accused of resisting law enforcement need to carefully consider their criminal defense options. They may be able to show that their actions were not intended to disrupt an arrest or a law enforcement duty, or they may be able to present evidence that the arrest that was being made was unlawful. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to help these individuals develop a legal strategy and legal arguments that ensure that their legal rights, and, ultimately, their freedom and reputation, are as fully protected as the facts allow.