Resisting & Obstructing

Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney


Grand Rapids criminal defense attorneyIn Michigan, resisting and obstructing a police officer is a crime that may be charged when someone resists or obstructs a police officer attempting to do their duties or enforce a law. Many people are surprised to learn that this is a serious felony that can result in up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000.00, or both. There are even more severe penalties if someone was injured in the process. An injury requiring medical attention results in up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000.00, or both. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney knows that an injury resulting in serious impairment of a bodily function results in up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000.00, or both. An injury that results in death results in up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000.00, or both.


A Broad Definition


Resisting and obstructing is commonly known as “resisting arrest.” As a result, many people believe that resisting and obstructing is a crime that is only charged when someone resists an arrest by fighting back when the police try to arrest them. However, this offense includes a lot more than just putting up a fight when arrested. The actions included under resisting and obstructing are assaulting, battering, wounding, obstructing, or endangering. Assault is any act that is an attempt to batter or which puts the victim in reasonable fear of an imminent battery. A battery is any harmful or offensive contact. Obstructing is a broad term that includes, but is not limited to, threats. A person could be charged with resisting and obstructing for something as relatively common and harmless as spitting or pretending to spit. In addition, this law does not only apply to police. It includes an officer, medical examiner, township treasurer, judge, magistrate, probation officer, parole officer, prosecutor, city attorney, court employee, court officer, or other officer or duly authorized person. As long as that person is attempting to enforce a rule or perform their duties, someone who interferes could be charged with resisting and obstructing.


Do Not Speak To The Police


Resisting and obstructing has been expanded to include interfering with a police investigation. If a police officer makes it known that they are investigating a crime and a person knowingly and willfully conceals material information or lies about a material fact, that person may be charged with a crime. The severity of the punishment depends on the severity of the crime being investigated, and ranges from a 93 day misdemeanor to a four year felony. You can not be convicted of this particular crime by declining to speak to the police. You should always decline to speak to the police. If the police believe that you are a suspect, they are skilled at finding ways to make your statements incriminating. Even if they don’t believe that you are a suspect and you are not connected to the crime in any way, you may be in danger of being charged with an entirely separate crime if they can find a way to make it appear as if you have left out a material fact or lied. The police are not interested in finding out what happened or getting the story straight, they are out to collect evidence to be used in prosecuting someone. Always Consult with an attorney before making any statements to the police.


Defending Yourself


You always have the right to defend yourself against unlawful conduct. As a Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney will tell you, if the police are attempting to arrest someone unlawfully and that person fights back, they have a defense to a resisting and obstructing charge. However, the law is complex and full of nuance and exceptions. It can be almost impossible to tell whether the police are acting unlawfully in the heat of the moment. It is also important to remember that the police are trained in subduing people and are armed. It is often more practical to simply comply with an arrest and fight it later in court than to risk bodily injury and a possible felony charge. However, if you believe that you were wrongfully arrested and have been charged with R&O, you may have a defense.


Contact A Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney


While resisting and obstructing can encompass many different things, it is most commonly charged when someone resists an arrest in some way. As a result, it is often charged alongside whatever crime prompted the underlying arrest. This can complicate the issues and make for a difficult case. Additionally, there are many options available when someone is facing a resisting an obstructing charge. For these reasons, it is important to have a skilled and knowledgeable Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney on your side when you are facing any criminal charge. If you have been accused of resisting and obstructing, call us at 616-773-2945 to discuss the options available to you.