Massachusetts Resisting Arrest Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with resisting arrest in Massachusetts can be a troubling experience. In most circumstance the charge of Resisting Arrest is accompanied by another underlying charge. Attorney Kathleen McCarthy represents clients throughout Massachusetts who are facing serious criminal charges. Massachusetts resisting arrest attorney Kathleen McCarthy approaches this type of case like any other case. Depending on the circumstances, a motion to dismiss and/or a motion to suppress can be filed. Contact attorney Kathleen McCarthy to find out how she can help defend your case and keep a clean criminal record.

Resisting Arrest Overview

Under Massachusetts G.L. c. 268, §32B, a person can be convicted of resisting arrest if he/she knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer, acting under the color of his/her official authority, from effecting an arrest on himself/herself or another person, by using physical force or the threat of force. An arrest occurs when a person is placed securely in custody, detained, or is under the control of the police. A person can also be convicted of resisting arrest if he/she flees from a police officer or attempts to avoid arrest by any means.

The Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements in order to prove the defendant is guilty of resisting arrest:

  1. The defendant prevented or attempted to prevent the police officer from making a lawful or unlawful arrest of himself/herself, or another person;
  2. The officer was acting under the color of his/her official authority;
  3. The defendant resisted arrest by using or threatening to use force or violence against the police officer; and
  4. The defendant performed the actions above with knowledge of doing so.

The Commonwealth will have to show that the defendant knew the arresting party was a police officer. The officer must have appeared either in uniform, or identified himself/herself by exhibiting identification such as a badge or other police equipment indicating he/she is a police officer. The resisting of arrest must have also occurred prior to a person being arrested.

Resisting arrest is classified as a misdemeanor. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to serve up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections and/or pay a fine of up to $500.

Typically, if a person is charged with resisting arrest, he/she is also charged with another offense. Resisting arrest is the secondary crime.

Resisting Arrest Defenses

As mentioned above, a resisting arrest charge is separate from the charge of the underlying crime. If the underlying crime is reduced, or dismissed, this will have no direct impact on the resisting arrest charge. The defendant will have to provide a defense for both crimes.

A defense of unreasonable or excessive force can be used to combat a charge of resisting arrest. A person is allowed to use reasonable force to protect himself/herself from physical harm if he/she reasonably believes the officer is using excessive/unreasonable force in arresting him/her. If a police officer is using excessive force against a person during the arrest, he/she can use as much force as necessary to defend himself/herself.

Lack of knowledge of the arrest is also a defense. If a person was unaware that the police officer was trying to arrest him/her, then the knowledge element will not be met. The police officer must explain to the person why he/she is being arrested. Placing someone in cuffs without stating that he/she is being arrested does not constitute an arrest.

Hire Boston Resisting Arrest Attorney Kathleen McCarthy

Hiring a Boston attorney that is experienced in defending a resisting an arrest charge can help you stay out of jail and from paying court-related fines. Remember, you will have to defend against the resisting arrest charge in addition to the underlying crime. The Commonwealth must prove the elements of both crimes beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.

Attorney Kathleen McCarthy has over twenty-five years experience in the criminal law field. She has secured not guilty verdicts, successfully litigated motions to suppress and dismiss and negotiated favorable dispositions for clients. It is always a good idea to have an experienced criminal attorney at your side when you go to court. To contact Attorney McCarthy, call 978-975-8060 to speak directly. She provides legal representation to residents of Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, Concord, Ayer, Newburyport and all other cities and towns in Massachusetts.