Minnesota had its share of clashes between citizens and law enforcement over the last year. Regrettably, the clashes started when police used excessive force to restrain a person under arrest and that person died. That person’s name is George Floyd.
The police claimed George Floyd resisted. From that incident, the country became acutely aware that excessive police use of force is real. Police sometimes claim people resist arrest to justify using excessive force.
If you were arrested for resisting arrest or obstructing arrest in Minnesota, you might be wondering:
- Why was I arrested for resisting arrest?
- What is resisting arrest?
- Is resisting arrest a felony or misdemeanor in Minnesota?
- What is the punishment for resisting arrest?
- How could I get resisting arrest charges dropped?
The Minnesota criminal defense lawyers with Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., will use their decades of experience and knowledge gained by defending hundreds of cases to fight for justice on your behalf. They will explain the charges, consult with you to develop a defense strategy, and tirelessly work to get the best result for you.
What Is Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest in Minnesota is also called obstructing legal process, arrest, or firefighting. A person is guilty of obstructing legal process if they intentionally obstruct, resist, or interfere with a police officer in the performance of legal duties, or obstruct, hinder, or prevent a person’s apprehension on a criminal charge.
The Minnesota legislature intentionally wrote the law in very broad terms. Under the law, resisting arrest means:
- Refusing to be handcuffed;
- Refusing to surrender;
- Struggling with the police;
- Wrestling or fighting with the police; or
- Somehow preventing the police from making an arrest.
Acts such as running from police, refusing to stop for police, and escape from a detention facility are crimes governed by other Minnesota laws.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Minnesota
The possible sanctions for resisting depend on the severity and dangerousness of the conduct alleged by police. Minnesota law punishes resisting arrest as a felony if:
- The person knew or should have known the act created a risk of death, substantial bodily harm, or significant damage to property; or
- The act did cause death, serious bodily injury, or substantial property damage.
Felony resisting arrest carries a maximum state prison term of five years, a fine up to $10,000, or both fine and imprisonment.
Resisting arrest is a gross misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both if the act or threat was forceful or violent but did not cause death, substantial bodily injury, or substantial property damage. Otherwise, misdemeanor resisting arrest carries a maximum sentence of 90 days, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest in Minnesota
Even if the police made a mistake, no one should resist law enforcement’s attempts to arrest a person. Minnesota law favors resorting to the court system to resolve disputes and rights violations instead of fighting with police on the street. In reality, individuals will stand up for their rights if they feel that they are being abused.
A person charged with resisting arrest could argue self-defense at trial, especially if the police were abusive. They can also argue that the officer exaggerated or fabricated the charges.
An accused may also argue the police officer was not performing official legal duties during the incident that led to the alleged resisting arrest. In other words, the defense can fight to establish the police officer had no legal authority for the actions that led to the alleged resisting of arrest.
How Could a Lawyer Help?
An experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney could explain to you how to get resisting arrest charges dropped. Negotiating with the prosecution for a reduced sentence to lesser charges could help you avoid a harsh prison sentence and avoid a felony conviction.
Arguing motions to dismiss for a lack of probable cause could also help you get resisting arrest charges dropped before going to trial.
Reach Out If You Need Help
Arechigo & Stokka’s Minnesota resisting arrest defense lawyers are ready to use their tremendous experience and vast knowledge to get the best result for you.
Contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., now by calling 651-222-6603 to learn more about how our firm can help you achieve the best result possible.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.