Resisting Arrest Charges in Michigan: What You Need to Know

KD Law Group |
01/05/2023

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In Michigan, there are two statutes under which someone could be charged with resisting arrest. Resisting Arrest can be charged as either a felony by the state or a misdemeanor by the local prosecutor, based upon the specifics of the incident. The amount of “resistance” that may result in a charge is low. Both, however, are serious crimes.

Michigan Laws Regarding Resisting Arrest

Michigan has two statutes that can be used to charge someone with resisting arrest:

  • MCL 750.81d is the most frequently charged statute. This statute makes it a crime to “assault, batter, wound, resist, obstruct, oppose or endanger” someone performing his or her duties. It can be applied to police, sheriff’s deputies, conservation officers, federal officers, firefighters, EMS personnel or individuals engaged in search & rescue operations. A conviction for violating MCL 750.81d will result in a felony with possible sentences of two to fifteen years, depending on whether the victim suffers injuries and the degree of injuries.
  • MCL 750.479 makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully ”assault, batter, wound, obstruct or endanger” a medical examiner, township treasurer, judge, magistrate, probation officer, parole officer, prosecutor, city attorney, court employee, court officer, process server, police officer, ordinance officer, city councilman, etc. A conviction for violating MCL 750.479 will result in a felony with possible sentences of two to twenty years, depending on whether the victim suffers injuries and the degree of injuries.

Considerations When Reviewing a Resisting Arrest Charge

Prosecutors frequently add a resisting arrest charge after an arrest if there is the least excuse to do so. A resisting arrest charge does not require a physical injury to the victim but can be brought for simply failing to obey a lawful command. People have been charged with resisting arrest for simply not placing their hands behind their back to be handcuffed.

Resisting arrest charges must be based upon an action. Either a direct action such as physically resisting or indirect action such as failing to comply with lawful commands. Arguing with a police officer but obeying lawful commands does not justify a resisting charge.

Michigan law DOES allow someone who is being unlawfully arrested to resist but this is fraught with peril. If you are arrested DO NOT resist. DO NOT fight back. DO obey all lawful commands, even if you believe the arrest is unlawful. Any resistance to an arrest, whether it is lawful or otherwise, can result in grave consequences up to and including death. Let your attorney sort it out in court.

What to Do if You Have Been Charged with Resisting Arrest

If you are charged with resisting arrest, you should immediately retain competent counsel. At Kirsch Daskas, our staff and attorneys will review the evidence compiled by the police and make a determination as to the admissibility and sufficiency of the evidence being presented. Your attorney can then formulate and recommend a defense strategy.

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