Resisting and Obstructing the Police Defense Attorney

Successfully and expertly defending Resisting and Obstructing charges in Michigan. When you have been accused of Resisting and Obstructing, call upon a top-rated criminal defense law firm to protect you.

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Resisting and Obstructing the Police Charges in Michigan

As you might imagine, resisting and obstructing the police charges are taken very seriously by police, judges, and prosecutors. The allegations are serious because the charge constitutes a direct challenge to the state’s authority, whether a simple failure to obey a command or a physical confrontation. What otherwise would be considered a 93-day misdemeanor is escalated to a 2-year felony if the person assaulted, resisted, or obstructed is an officer. It is essential that anyone facing these serious allegations consult with an experienced resisting and obstructing defense attorney.

Because of the nature of these cases, prosecutors bring these charges when there is no legitimate basis. Overly aggressive prosecutors who see themselves as part of the “law enforcement team” look for ways to charge these cases instead of being fair and impartial. For instance, if you misunderstand a police officer, or perhaps you cannot hear what they said, you can be charged with a crime if the officer believes your failure to follow directions was intentional. If so, you want the best criminal attorney you can get, as the government will come after you with all they have. Before you talk to anyone about the case or do anything else, call Michigan’s Resisting and Obstructing the Police defense firm, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., for a free consultation regarding your situation.

Defense Against Resisting and Obstructing Charges

Michigan law does allow for the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In the landmark case People v. Moreno, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed that individuals have the common-law right to resist illegal police conduct, such as unlawful arrests and entries under the Fourth Amendment. Proving that the officer’s conduct was illegal can be a valid defense against a resisting and obstructing charge. However, it’s important to note that this defense carries the risk of a judge or jury not believing that the officer’s conduct was unlawful under the circumstances. Furthermore, defendants can also argue that they did not engage in conduct that constitutes resisting and obstructing, a defense that may be supported or refuted by evidence such as recordings of the police, body cameras, and patrol car surveillance videos​​.

It’s essential to recognize that the subjective nature of these charges can sometimes lead to them being overcharged. Prosecutors might add a resisting and obstructing felony to several misdemeanor charges, especially in cases where their case might be weak. This strategy can lead defendants to accept plea deals for the misdemeanors to avoid the risk of a felony conviction, even when the misdemeanor charges could potentially be contested successfully in court​​.

The enforcement of these laws and the charges brought against individuals can vary. For instance, mild resistance, such as questioning an officer, can result in the same charge as more forceful resistance, like pushing or punching an officer. This broad scope of actions covered under the law demonstrates its complexity and the importance of understanding the specific circumstances of each case​​.

In any situation involving charges of resisting and obstructing, it is crucial to seek legal representation. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can provide guidance, help clients understand their legal options, and work to protect their rights. Never accept a plea bargain without fully understanding the legal implications and exploring all available defenses.

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What constitutes resisting and obstructing?

Resisting and obstructing is defined as assaulting, battering, wounding, resisting, obstructing, opposing, or endangering a person known to be performing their duties as an officer. Some definitions are helpful. A “person” can mean a police officer, a college police officer, a conservation officer, a constable, a sheriff deputy, a firefighter, an EMS employee, or an agent of the Secret Service or Department of Justice.

Obstruct” includes using or threatening physical interference or force or a knowing failure to comply with a lawful command.

Most people believe that Resisting and Obstructing the Police requires an assault on an officer, which could not be further from the truth. Most cases involve allegations of failure to cooperate, providing false information, or interfering in an arrest. Other charges arise from situations where someone is being arrested or detained and reacts to the pain inflicted by overly aggressive police officers. Pulling away from someone inflicting pain is natural and involuntary. However, a police officer might misinterpret such reactions as resisting arrest. If you call our resisting and obstructing defense attorneys for a free consultation, we can evaluate the claims against you and determine if you have a viable defense.

What are the penalties for Resisting and Obstructing the Police?

If someone is convicted by plea or trial, they need a top resisting and obstructing defense attorney to help minimize the potential consequences. There is no mandatory minimum jail sentence; however, judges in Michigan tend to level harsh punishments when it comes to these matters.

  • The basic charge is a 2-year felony plus a $2,000.00 fine. Up to five (5) years of probation may be imposed in Michigan for any felony conviction.
  • If bodily injury to an officer results from resisting and obstructing, which requires medical attention or care, then the penalty jumps to a 4-year felony plus a $5,000.00 fine. Bodily injury is broadly defined and can even be charged when the officer accidentally hurts him or herself.
  • If serious impairment of a bodily function occurs to the officer due to the resisting and obstructing incident, the penalty rises to a 15-year felony plus a $10,000.00 fine.
  • If death results from an alleged resisting and obstructing, the penalty is a 20-year felony and a $20,000.00 fine.

As indicated above, prosecutors want to show the police they are on their side and are very tough on anyone they think gave the police a hard time, let alone injured them. They rarely offer plea bargains and usually press for jail time for defendants convicted of Resisting and Obstructing the Police. Likewise, judges want to show the police they support them and have no problem sending people to jail. Resisting and Obstructing the Police cases, especially if there is any alleged injury. Your lawyer is the only thing standing between you and a prosecutor or judge seeking to impose a jail sentence.

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There is hope! We Can Successfully Represent You on These Charges.

Resisting and obstructing the police cases are often charged based on the slightest police allegations. These cases often arise when there may be a fight between two or more people or a disturbance among several people, perhaps a loud one, and the police feel overwhelmed and panicked. An officer might arrest someone for resisting and obstructing if they do not immediately follow a single shouted command. The legislature did not create the law to criminalize misunderstandings. A savvy and experienced resisting and obstructing defense attorney could show their client did not violate the law’s intent if there was a misunderstanding. Under these circumstances, the attorney can advocate for the dismissal of the charges. Additionally, in the heat of an unruly event, a person may often not even hear an order from the police due to distracting circumstances. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with Resisting and Obstructing the Police.

What are the elements of resisting and Obstructing in Michigan?

Every crime is made up of parts called elements. To convict a defendant, the prosecution must prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of resisting and obstructing the police are:

(1)​ The defendant assaulted, battered, wounded, resisted, obstructed, opposed, or endangered a police officer. The defendant must have actually resisted by what they said or did, but physical violence is not necessary. 

(2)​ The defendant knew or had reason to know that the person was a police officer performing their duties at the time.

(3) That the officer gave the defendant a lawful command, was making a lawful arrest, or was otherwise performing a lawful act.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.’s defense attorneys have handled countless Resisting and Obstructing the Police cases over the past few decades, and we know exactly how to confront them. We presume our clients are innocent. Sadly, many attorneys do not. We will fight for you to prove to the judge, jury, and prosecutor that our client is innocent and that the government has insufficient evidence for a conviction. Our respected defense attorneys will leave no stone unturned, and we are not afraid to win, even on Resisting and Obstructing the Police cases. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to listen to you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy.

The dedicated, zealous, and affordable resisting and obstructing defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties, and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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