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What is Resisting Arrest in Massachusetts?

What is resisting arrest in Massachusetts?

If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest in the state of Massachusetts, it is critical to hire a criminal defense attorney. This is a serious charge, and you could be facing a fine or even jail time if convicted. I have many years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and I am not afraid to fight for you in court. Our firm will give your case the time and attention is deserves, and we will give you guidance throughout the legal proceedings. I know the criminal justice system can be very stressful, but part of my objective is to alleviate some of that stress.

What is Resisting Arrest?

If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Massachusetts, the law provides that the Commonwealth must prove: You knowingly prevented or attempted to prevent a police officer, acting under color of his official authority, from effecting your or someone else’s arrest, by:

  1. Using or threatening to use physical force or violence against the police officer or another; or
  2. Using any other means which creates a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to such police officer or another

What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove?

In order for you to be convicted of this crime, the Commonwealth must prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You prevented a police officer from arresting you or another person
  2. Police officer was acting in his official authority.
  3. You used or threatened to use physical force or violence; OR used other means which created a substantial risk of bodily injury to the officer or another
  4. You did the above knowingly

What is the Penalty if I’m Convicted?

If you’re convicted of resisting arrest in Massachusetts, the maximum prison sentence is two and a half years. The maximum fine if you’re convicted is $500.

What are Possible Defenses for this Charge?

Although resisting arrest is a serious charge, there are defenses that can be argued in court. Notice that one of the things the Commonwealth must prove, is that your acts were intentional. One defense could be that you did not know the person attempting to arrest you was an officer. Perhaps if they were not in uniform because they were undercover, you may not have realized they were even a police officer. Another defense could be that you did not know you were even getting arrested.

Another route for the defense is that the officer was using unreasonable or excessive force in making the arrest. You have a certain right to defend yourself if you believe you are being harmed, even by a police officer. So if you believe they were being unreasonably rough with you, self defense could be something we argue in court as well.

However, the fact that you were illegally arrested, meaning officers did not have a reason to arrest you, is not a defense to resisting arrest.

The Law Office of Matthew W. Peterson is Here to Help

We take on criminal defense cases all over the Boston area including but not limited to Lynn, Salem, Brighton, Roxbury, Boston, Cambridge, and Malden. If you’re looking for a defense attorney who is reliable, experienced, and will do everything they can to try to obtain the best outcome for you, reach out to me today. You can call or text me at 617-295-7500, or send me a website message to get started. If you have any questions, contact us or check out our FAQ page on our website.



Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

Boston Attorney

The court system is stressful, whether you’re being charged with a crime, being sued, suing someone, or fighting for your ability to stay and work in this country. You need someone who appreciates this and can dedicate the time not only to represent you effectively in court but to guide you through the process.

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