Most states, including Minnesota, have laws that make it a crime to resist when a police officer is making an arrest. Although Minnesota's statute doesn't specifically mention "resisting arrest," it nevertheless outlaws the behavior by stating that it's illegal to generally obstruct, resist, or interfere with a police officer while they're performing their duties.
Interestingly, the same statute also criminalizes such behavior towards firefighters, ambulance service personnel crew, and employees of the Department of Revenue. It's also important to note that Minnesota law specifically identifies circumstances when police officers can use force to make an arrest.
Minnesota Resisting Arrest Laws: The Basics
It's important to know and understand what a law actually says whenever you're researching a legal issue, but it's not always a quick and easy endeavor as laws are written in legalese. To aid in better understanding a law, it can be helpful to read an overview that describes the law in readable terms. In the chart that follows you can find both an overview of resisting arrest laws in Minnesota as well as links to applicable statutes.
Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 609. Criminal Code: Section 609.50 (Obstructing Legal Process, Arrest, or Firefighting)
Intentionally engaging in any of the following behavior is prohibited:
- Obstructing, hindering, or preventing the lawful execution of any legal process, or apprehension of another on a criminal charge or conviction;
- Obstructing, resisting, or interfering with a peace officer while they're performing their official duties;
- Interfering with or obstructing a firefighter while their performing their official duties;
- Interfering with or obstructing ambulance service personnel who's providing (or trying to provide) emergency care; or
- By force or threat of force, trying to obstruct an Department of Revenue employee who's performing their official duties.
The penalties for violating Minnesota resisting arrest laws will vary depending on the circumstances:
- If the person knew or had reason to know that the act created a risk of serious property damage, substantial bodily harm, or death*: imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
- If force or violence was involved** (but it didn't fall into the category above): imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or up to $3,000 in fines.
- In any other circumstances not covered by the two described above: imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
*This penalty also applies if the act actually caused serious property damage, substantial bodily harm, or death.
**This penalty also applies if there was a threat of force or violence.
Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 609. Criminal Code:
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.
Minnesota Resisting Arrest Laws: Related Resources
For more information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.
Charged with Violating Minnesota Resisting Arrest Laws? Contact an Attorney
As you can see, resisting arrest is treated seriously, especially if force or violence is involved. If you're facing these or any other criminal charges in Minnesota, it's in your best interest to speak with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and find out your best options moving forward.