Facing Resisting and Obstructing the Police Charges?

Resisting and Obstructing is a Very Serious Charge, and You Need a Very Serious Criminal Defense Attorney Who is Experienced and Savvy Enough to Protect You from Jail

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Assaulting or Resisting Police or Other Law Enforcement Officers

The crime that people commonly call “resisting and obstructing” the police includes more than resisting and obstructing. The law states that the crime is committed when someone “assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers” a person they knew or had reason to know was performing their duties. The law covers more than the typical local “police officer.” Under the statute, an “officer” includes:

  • a police officer,
  • a motor carrier officer,
  • a college police force officer,
  • a DNR conservation officer,
  • a federal conservation officer or park ranger,
  • a member of the US Secret Service or the FBI,
  • a firefighter,
  • a sheriff or deputy sheriff,
  • an emergency medical technician, and
  • any individuals engaged in a search and rescue operation.

Which is it? Resisting, obstructing, or assaulting?

Assaulting, battering, and wounding are all fairly self-explanatory. Resisting, obstructing, and opposing are a little less obvious. The Resisting and Obstructing statute is broad and encompasses assaultive conduct and anything that is done to unnecessarily make the officer’s job more difficult. Obstructing and opposing can include giving a false name, verbally interfering in someone’s arrest, attempting to make a search of a person or property more difficult, and much more. Still, some defenses can work in court to get these charges dismissed or achieve an acquittal at trial. It takes a very experienced, aggressive, and fearless defense lawyer to have the credibility in court to stand up to the police and attempt to get this charge dismissed or reduced.

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Resisting and Obstructing Charges in Michigan Courts

This offense can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. These offenses regularly result in jail time, and a conviction can impact your ability to get meaningful employment or professional licensing. A skilled and experienced retained lawyer can help you through the process and is your best hope of avoiding devastating consequences that can impact the rest of your life.

People have the lawful right to use reasonable force, AKA self-defense, to resist an illegal arrest.

Defense to Resisting and Obstructing the Police Charges

In Michigan, the prosecution must prove that police officers were acting lawfully as an element of resisting and obstructing the police charges. There is a common law right to resist an unlawful arrest. The Michigan Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals have ruled that people charged with biting, hitting, and kicking officers were NOT GUILTY of resisting and obstructing when officers arrested them unlawfully. For example, a recent case in the Michigan Court of Appeals involved an individual who was told to leave a bar in Kalamazoo. When officers arrived at the bar, they told the defendant to leave and demanded to see his identification. The individual refused. One of the officers advised the defendant that he would be arrested if he did not produce his identification. Again, he refused. The officers took the defendant into custody; however, he fought them by biting and kicking the officers. He was charged with three felony counts of R&O. The Court of Appeals ordered the charges dismissed because the police officers had no lawful right to demand the accused’s identification. He had the legal right to use reasonable force, AKA self-defense, to resist an unlawful arrest.

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Should I hire a criminal defense lawyer if I’m facing charges?

Anyone facing resisting and obstructing the police charges should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. When it comes to these charges, prosecutors and judges mean business. The lowest level of resisting and obstructing the police is a misdemeanor. When charged as a misdemeanor, these offenses are usually charged as an ordinance violation and are punishable by up to 93 days in jail and up to two (2) years of probation.

Most resisting and obstructing charges are felonies. The penalty for a first offense under state law is two (2) years in jail/prison. Probation for a felony can be up to five (5) years and can include many terms and conditions that make life difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. However, if an officer is harmed, the jail/prison time increases to four (4) years. If an officer is injured to the extent that it amounts to a serious impairment of a bodily function, the penalty jumps to 15 years in prison. And finally, if the injury causes the officer’s death, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison.

It is important to know that physical contact with an officer is unnecessary to establish the first-level offense. “Obstructing” includes threatening to use force against the officer and refusing to comply with a lawful command.

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Why is retaining a lawyer so important?

Resisting and obstructing the police charges are serious, and many people, including most lawyers, are unaware that if the defendant was committing a crime at the time of the officer’s injury, they could be convicted of that crime as well as “resisting and obstructing.” Under the statute, a judge can sentence a defendant consecutively with the other offense. For instance, if a defendant was caught trying to break into a house and then obstructed an officer who arrived at the scene, the defendant can be sentenced to time in jail or prison for the breaking and entering and then would have to serve a separate sentence for the resisting and obstructing conviction. Most defendants are not aware of the possibility of consecutive sentencing. No prosecutor will tell you about the risk of consecutive sentencing, and an inexperienced, nonspecialized, or bargain lawyer may not know. Because the potential consequences are so severe, it is essential that anyone facing these allegations retain an experienced resisting and obstructing police defense attorney.

What you need to know regarding a Resisting and Obstructing Charge

This charge is one that prosecutors and judges deal with very aggressively, and jail time is often their goal. Judges and prosecutors are keen to impress the police that they support the police because they work with them every day. In many ways, prosecutors and judges rely upon their cooperation and support. This is simply a fact of life and how the politics of these cases work. A highly experienced and savvy retained attorney anticipates and knows how to deal with this unspoken political dimension in these cases and how to turn the tables in your favor!

Most lawyers will not tell you, but the fact is that even most retained lawyers take state court assignments and work as court-appointed attorneys. You would never know this unless you ask. Unfortunately, attorneys who take appointments are not immune to the political forces in these cases because they rely upon judges to appoint them. Suppose a retained lawyer, who takes appointments from a judge, thinks the judge may retaliate for a vigorous defense to this charge. In that case, the retained/court-appointed attorney will likely be conflicted about doing what is necessary to challenge the charge fully. An aggressive and passionate retained defense attorney owes their best efforts only to you, the client, and is immune from political pressure when defending a client facing Resisting and Obstructing the Police Charges.

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Top Defense for Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges, including Resisting and Obstructing the Police, in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and throughout Southeastern 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 for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy.

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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