At the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm, our team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyers have defended dozens of individuals charged with resisting arrest in Rhode Island. Our effective and proven criminal defense strategies have helped many of our clients stay out of jail, avoid a felony convictions, and oftentimes leave the criminal justice system with no criminal record at all.
Rhode Island Resisting Arrest Lawyers
Marin, Barrett and Murphy Law Firm
Available 24/7 at 401-228-8271
We have experience representing clients facing a wide variety of Rhode Island criminal charges including resisting a legal or illegal arrest. Let us put them to work for you.
Frequently Asked Resisting Arrest Questions:
What qualifies as resisting arrest in Rhode Island?
Resisting arrest is a criminal offense under Rhode Island General Law 12-7-10 and makes it illegal for someone to use force or a weapon in resisting arrest. Use of a weapon is more obvious, but to “use force” is open to a bit more interpretation, which starts with the officer or officers making the arrest. “Use of force” can be something as obvious as pulling your arms back and fighting, to something as slight as briefly “tensing up.” Unlike crimes such as possession of a controlled substance or speeding, resisting arrest is much more subjective and can vary by police department, and even officer to officer. These cases require a strong factual inquiry, so having an attorney who knows the right questions to ask and how to ask them is important.
What are examples of resisting arrest?
There are some examples of resisting arrest that are obvious. For instance, if an officer tells a defendant to turn around to be handcuffed and he or she jerks their arms away and runs, that's an easy call. When it becomes more difficult is when a defendant is alleged to have made the arrest more difficult than. It could have been, but ultimately relented. For instance, many police officers will say that a defendant “tensed up,” “tucked their hands,” “shielded,” or “bladed” as ways to indicate resistance.
What is the resisting arrest criminal statute in Rhode Island?
The resisting arrest statute is outlined in Rhode Island General Law 12-7-10. Section (a) outlines the elements that need to be established to prove a resisting arrest charge, and section (b) spells out the potential penalties for conviction.
What are the elements of a resisting arrest charge?
Under Rhode Island law 12-7-10, if an individual has reasonable ground to believe that he or she is being arrested and they use force or a weapon to resist that arrest then he or she can be convicted of resisting arrest. Unlike many crimes that must be proven with the testimony of civilian witnesses, resisting arrest charges are largely established through officer testimony. Police officers have many professional duties and testifying in court is one of them. You need an attorney who is as skilled in the courtroom as they are to make sure you have the strongest fight against your resisting arrest charge.
Can you resist arrest if the arrest is illegal?
Unfortunately, the Rhode Island resisting arrest makes it illegal to resist “a legal or illegal arrest.” While the fact that the arrest may have been illegal is not an absolute defense to a resisting arrest charge, the legality of the arrest on the part of the police can be a very persuasive factor for attorneys to use in their client's defense. The rationale behind the law is that if an individual is illegally arrested then the legal system will get to the bottom of it eventually, rather than imperil the safety of the public or the police officers. Hire a lawyer who knows the law and can use it to your advantage to beat your resisting arrest charge.
Can you beat a Rhode Island resisting arrest charge?
Here's the lawyer answer that nobody likes: it depends. These cases are factually intensive and oftentimes involve a judge or jury weighing and assessing a witness's credibility. However, there are other types of evidence that can be helpful it beating a case. For instance, many police officers are required to wear body cams; that footage allows a fact finder to see exactly what took place in real time. Similarly, surveillance or cellphone camera footage can also be very helpful in formulating a defense. Call us today, and we can go over your facts and evidence and devise a strategy tailored specifically to handle your case.
What are the penalties for a resisting arrest charge in Rhode Island?
Under Rhode Island Law 12-7-10 (b) resisting arrest is characterized as a full misdemeanor and can carry up to one year in prison, a $500 fine, or both.
How long do you go to jail for a R.I. resisting arrest charge?
Rhode Island law allows a judge to sentence a defendant to up to one year in prison for a resisting arrest conviction.
What happens when you get charged with resisting arrest in RI?
Practically speaking, if you have been charged with resisting arrest it is also very likely that you are facing one or more other charges as well. If that's the case, you certainly should not attempt to fight the case on your own. Oftentimes resisting arrest charges paint the police officer as the “victim.” Prosecutors and police officers work hand in hand, and the State takes crimes against officers very seriously, so it is crucial that you have an attorney willing to take on the State and level the playing field to your benefit.
What does the criminal charging process look like for a resisting arrest charge?
After the arrest, an individual facing charges will be brought to the police station and processed. Thereafter he or she will either be arraigned by a Justice of the Peace and released with a date to appear in court, or will be brought to the next court session to be arraigned. After the arraignment the case will be assigned for a pretrial conference with the city or town's prosecuting attorney to see if the two sides can reach a resolution. If the two sides cannot reach an agreeable resolution, the case will be passed for a trial and a judge or a jury will hear the evidence and reach a verdict. The criminal justice system can seem unfriendly and intimidating, particularly for most people who are not accustomed to going to court every day. Our firm has spent years fighting in courtrooms throughout the state; put that experience to work for you the moment you or your loved one gets arrested and charged.
What happens if I'm innocent of the charge I was being arrested for?
Under Rhode Island law, resisting arrest is a separate and distinct charge than the charge that gave rise to the arrest. What this means is that even if a defendant is exonerated of the original offense or it is dismissed, he or she will still have to answer to the resisting charge. However this does not mean that all hope is lost, skilled attorneys may often use those dismissals or acquittals to great advantage for a defendant facing a resisting arrest charge.
What are the possible defenses against resisting arrest charges in R.I.?
Like virtually all criminal charges, the potential defenses will vary greatly with the facts and circumstances for each case. In most instances, the defense is simply that the defendant's conduct did not rise to the level necessary to prove a resisting arrest charge. In other cases, investigation or cross examination of witnesses may establish that what was originally alleged against the defendant was either exaggerated or never took place at all. Occasionally the defense of accident can successfully be used to combat a resisting arrest charge. Whatever the appropriate defense or defenses to your case is, we will find it and use it to your best advantage.
How can we help you with a Rhode Island resisting arrest charge?
By simply reading these FAQs you have taken a great first step towards defending the case against you and your loved one. As soon as you hire our Criminal Defense Legal Team we get to work speaking with you, reviewing police reports and surveillance, and getting our defense together to secure the best outcome for you. Call us today at 401-228-8271 for immediate assistance!