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Michigan Resisting Arrest Laws

During an arrest or other encounter with law enforcement officers, the behavior of both the officer and the person under arrest is under scrutiny and must conform to certain standards; otherwise, consequences will arise. If a police officer doesn't follow specific procedures during an arrest, the officers could be subject to discipline and it may be an example of police misconduct. If the person under arrest doesn't act appropriately, then they could be charged with resisting arrest. State laws vary as to what constitutes resisting arrest. These laws are often the crux of controversial exchanges between law enforcement and citizens. Because there's no distinct legal standard, it's difficult to determine when you're actually breaking the law.

Michigan's resisting arrest laws refer to a number of prohibited actions such as assaulting, battering, wounding, and endangering an officer; you also cannot resist, oppose, and obstruct an officer. This includes failing to comply with an officer's lawful demands and interfering with the officer performing their duties. This can occur at anytime, not just during an arrest, but you must know or have reason to know that the person is an officer. An "officer" means not only a state police officer or a university or college officer, but also includes conservation officers, sheriffs/ deputies, firefighters, EMT's, and search and rescue personnel among others.

Michigan Resisting Arrest Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to the offense of resisting arrest in Michigan, including links to important code sections.



Michigan resisting arrest offenses are generally classified as felonies, but there are certain local ordinances that are misdemeanors. The penalties are based on factors including the officer's condition after the incident; sentencing guidelines depend on factors such as criminal history.

If you assault/batter/wound/resist/obstruct/oppose/endanger an officer:

  • You are guilty of a felony punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 2 years and/or fine up to $2,000.
  • And the officer has a bodily injury requiring medical attention/care; you are guilty of a felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to 4 years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • And the officer has a serious impairment of a body function; you are guilty of a felony punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • And the officer dies; you are guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years and/or a fine up to $20,000.

Possible Defenses

  • Self defense
  • Officer used excessive force
  • Officer did not self identify

Related Offense

  • Assault of public utility employee/contractor: Michigan Compiled Laws 750.81e

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.

Michigan Resisting Arrest Laws: Related Resources

Discuss Resisting Arrest with an Attorney

If you're accused of a Michigan resisting arrest offense, then incarceration and/or costly fines could be a part of your future. An experienced attorney understands how to create a strategically sound defense. With so much at stake, you should talk to a Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately.

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