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Maryland Resisting Arrest Laws

If the police attempt to take you into custody and you resist, you can be charged with a separate crime in Maryland known as “resisting arrest.” Your actions can be as minor as arguing, refusing to allow a police officer to place you into handcuffs, or struggling as you are placed in the back of a patrol vehicle.

In order to prove this charge under Maryland’s resisting arrest laws, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • A police officer arrested (or tried to arrest the defendant);
  • the arrest was lawful; and
  • the defendant refused to submit to the arrest with some level of force.

We saw a more extreme example of alleged resisting arrest in the highly controversial 2016 case involving 25-year-old arrestee Freddie Grey, whom Baltimore police attempted to take into custody, but officers allege was “flailing” and “screaming” during his arrest. Gray was eventually placed into the back of a police van without a seat belt where officers claim he continued to resist by “banging around.” Gray was found unconscious and bleeding in the back of the van; he died a week later.

Maryland Resisting Arrest Laws in Brief

The following chart provides some basic information about the penalties and sentences associated with Maryland resisting arrest laws.


Md. Ann. Code §9-408 (Resisting Arrest)

Penalties and Sentencing

  • Resisting Arrest: Misdemeanor, up to three years in prison, and/or fine of up to $5,000

Possible Defenses (List Not Exhaustive)

Associated Crimes

  • Md. Ann. Code §9-404 (First Degree Escape) Felony, up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $20,000
  • Md. Ann. Code §9-405 (Second Degree Escape) Misdemeanor, up to three years in prison, and/or fine of up to $5,000

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.

Maryland Codes and Court of Appeals Opinions

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Maryland’s resisting arrest laws, click on the following links below to learn more:

Charged Under Maryland Resisting Arrest Laws? Talk to an Attorney

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a resisting arrest, there are a number of possible defenses you may be able to raise. However, the law isn’t always easy to decipher, so you should have a criminal defense lawyer in Maryland to review your case before making a plea deal or any other decisions regarding your case.

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