Is Resisting Arrest Considered a Crime in New Hampshire?
Even in the best of circumstances, getting arrested can be extremely stressful and emotionally charged. However, things can quickly go from bad to worse if your arresting officers find an excuse to tack on an additional charge: be it resisting arrest, resisting detention, or obstructing a police officer.
What are “resisting arrest”, “resisting detention”, and “obstructing a police officer”?
Resisting arrest, resisting detention, and obstructing a police officer are all ways to refer to charges that can be made during an arrest in the State of New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, if you are being arrested, it is your duty to cooperate and not physically resist or interfere with the arrest. This includes any attempt to physically evade, dodge, or run away from arresting or detaining authorities, as well as any attempts to put something or someone between yourself and arresting or detaining authorities, or to use weapons against them.
Importantly, you are still allowed to verbally resist an arrest, so long as you do not physically resist or threaten to harm the arresting authorities.
Can I still be charged with resisting arrest if the arrest wasn’t legal?
Yes, you can still be charged with resisting arrest regardless of whether or not the arrest was legal or warranted. While illegal arrest can be addressed after the fact, it is considered a citizen’s responsibility to comply with police officers during any arrest, regardless of whether or not the arrest turns out to be legal.
What are the possible penalties for resisting arrest in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire classifies the standard offense of resisting arrest as a misdemeanor, which can carry up to a year in jail.
However, if anyone was seriously injured by your efforts to resist arrest, the charges can be increased to a much more serious Class B Felony, which can lead to anywhere between 3 ½ to 7 years in prison.
What are some possible defenses against a charge of resisting arrest?
There are many possible defenses against a resisting arrest charge, depending on the circumstances of your case. Resisting arrest is regularly charged inappropriately, or at least on questionable grounds.
Some of the most common defenses include:
- Definition of “Resistance”: Police officers have been known to charge for resisting arrest when all a defendant did was turn around and try to find out what was going on and why they were being arrested. This is especially true in cases where an arrest was illegal, misinformed, or a case of mistaken identity, and the person being arrested truly had no idea why they were being detained by the authorities.
- Unnecessary Force: Defendants are required to comply with arrests, but officers are also required to act within reasonable bounds and without unnecessary force and/or violence. In some cases, a defendant might have a right to reasonable self-defense—say, if an officer beats a defendant with a weapon without cause.
- “Acting Under the Color of Authority”: In order to effectively charge you with resisting arrest, the prosecution must prove that you knew you were being arrested by a police officer. This means the arresting officer must identify themselves as such and announce their intention to arrest you. If, say, they were undercover and not in uniform, they must at least identify themselves as police, produce official ID and announce their intention to arrest you before attempting to do so.
What do I do if I am charged with resisting arrest in New Hampshire?
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in New Hampshire, your first priority is to call an experienced New Hampshire criminal defense attorney. There are many viable defenses that the right attorney can make on your behalf, which often stand a solid chance of getting resisting arrest charges reduced or dropped entirely.
If you are facing resisting arrest charges in Nashua, New Hampshire, call Criminal Defense Attorney Robert Bartis at (603) 880-1300 for a personalized case consultation today.
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