Resisting, Obstructing, or Assaulting a Police Officer
In Michigan, the offense called Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer is very broad and it is intended to prohibit a person from doing anything to make it more difficult for an officer to perform his or her lawful duties.
Resisting Police Officer Can Happen in Many Ways
Resisting and Obstructing a police officer is an easy offense to be accused of committing. MCL 750.81d prohibits the assaulting, wounding, resisting, obstructing, opposing, or endangering a person who the individual knows is performing his or her duties. Unfortunately, the law is so broad that people can be charged even if his or her conduct hardly had an impact.
Resisting and Obstructing is a 2-year felony; however, the maximum sentence gets more severe if there is injury or death to the person performing his or her duties. If a person is combative or disrespectful at a traffic stop, he or she may be charged with obstructing or opposing a police officer. A reading of the statute shows the legislature was very careful to define resisting and obstructing very broadly so that it would permit charges even for the slightest inconvenience to a police officer performing his or her legal duties.
In the recently decided case of People v Ryan Scott Feeley, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a circuit court’s affirmation of a district court’s denial of a bindover request. The reason for the denial was that the failure to comply with a command of a reserve police officer was not a violation of the statute. The legislature did not specify that the law applied to reserve police officers in the definition of whose lawful orders must be obeyed. If the Legislature had wanted the statute to apply to reserve police officers is would have provided for them, just as it did for university police officers, sheriff deputies, and federal conservation officers.
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