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District of Columbia Resisting Arrest Laws

All across the United States, there are laws that make it a crime to resist an arrest made by a police officer. Although the specifics of the crime depend on the jurisdiction, resisting arrest can include anything from actively fighting off a police officer to making it difficult for the police officer by simply not following their instructions. Whether you believe the arrest is lawful or not, it's usually best to comply with a police officer's commands to avoid escalating the situation. In the District of Columbia, it's an offense to not only resist an arrest yourself but also to prevent a police officer from arresting someone else.

Summary of District of Columbia Resisting Arrest Laws

A good way to learn about the law is to read what's written in the actual statute. But this isn't always an easy task since most statutes are written in legal jargon. To help ease the process of interpreting this "legalese," it's helpful to read a summary of the law in plain English. In the chart below, you can find both a summary of resisting arrest laws in the District of Columbia and links to applicable statutes.


District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 4, Section 22-405.01 (Resisting Arrest)

Defining the Offense

Resisting arrest occurs when a person, without justifiable and excusable cause*, intentionally resists an arrest by an individual who the person has reason to believe is a law enforcement officer or prevents that individual from arresting or detaining someone else.

*It's not justifiable or excusable for a person to use force to resist an arrest, whether the arrest is lawful or not.

Charges and Penalties

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or fines set forth in Section 22-3571.01.

Related Statute(s)

District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

District of Columbia Resisting Arrest Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Charged with Resisting Arrest in the District of Columbia? It's Best to Get Legal Help

Even if you're not charged or convicted for the crime that led to your arrest, you could still face separate charges if you resisted that arrest. In many cases, whether you resisted arrest or not can hinge on just a few important facts which the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If you've been charged with resisting arrest or any other crime in the District of Columbia, a local criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate those facts and develop your strongest defense.

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