Resisting Arrest in PA (Maximums and Defenses)

Resisting Arrest in PA is a serious misdemeanor offense. It just sounds nasty on your criminal record. We also find that this is one of the crimes in PA that are just overcharged and the government has no realistic hope of getting a conviction. That’s because we know the law. A conviction for the crime is like a diamond, it lasts forever. You have to be extremely careful with who you pick to handle this case because picking wrong can ruin your life. When people ask “Who is the best Resisting Arrest attorney near me?” The people have spoken, it’s The McShane Firm


The Law

You can read the exact law here: Resisting Arrest 18 P.S. § 5104

When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:

  • Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
  • Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
  • Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?

At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.

What the government needs to prove:

Resisting Arrest is a very simple statute, but the devil is in the details. As we will see.

Remember at all times, if the government has charged you with any crime including Resisting Arrest, you are innocent in the eyes of the law. Before you start the eternal you are Not Guilty. You remain that way unless the government can present a mountain of evidence proving your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to convict you the government must prove the following:

  1. the accused
  2. with the intent of
  3. preventing a public servant from effecting a lawful arrest or discharging any other duty,
  4. the person creates a substantial risk of bodily injury
  5. to the public servant or anyone else, or
  6. employs means justifying or requiring substantial force to overcome the resistance.

What is The McShane Difference?

  • We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
  • We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
  • We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.

Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.

But the nuance is in the case law

Through a series of decisions, our appeals courts have narrowed the conduct that justifies a conviction for resisting arrest quite a bit. Simply running away from the police (unless you knowingly create an unacceptable risk of bodily injury such as jumping building top to building top), is not resisting arrest. The same proves true with simply failing your arms or refusing to provide your arms to handcuffing. That type of conduct might seem like you are resisting, but not in the eyes of the law. It is not resisting arrest if a protester who is being removed from an area goes limp and refuses to participate in his or her removal or handcuffing.

What is bodily injury?

The law reads as follows:

“Bodily injury.”  Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

I know what you’re thinking “What the heck does that mean?”

It means whatever a jury wants it to mean. This is where having the right attorney who can explain how your conduct doesn’t fit the crime can make all of the difference. 

What is with intent mean?

We find the definition of recklessly at 18 P.S. 302.

A person acts intentionally with respect to a material element of an offense when:

(i)  if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and

(ii)  if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.

But what does that mean? Well the best way to explain it is by what it is not. Intentional behavior is more than knowing, reckless and more than mere negligence.

To put it simply:

  • Intentional means that you are aware of what you are doing and do it on purpose for its intended aim.
  • A person acts knowingly when he acts with the certainty that a certain result will follow from his actions.
  • A person acts recklessly if the person does not know for sure that a specific result will follow. Recklessness means that you knowingly take a risk.
  • Negligence occurs when a person unknowingly takes a risk that they should have been aware of..

So in the real world, it means whatever a jury wants it to mean. This is where having the right attorney who can explain how your conduct doesn’t fit the crime can make all of the difference. 

Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:

  • Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
  • Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
  • Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
  • Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.

This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.

Maximum Penalties

If you are convicted or found guilty of Resisting Arrest, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Beyond the instant concerns you likely have about jail, probation, fines and costs, you need to be aware of Misdemeanor Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania.

The maximum penalty for all misdemeanors of the second degree in Pennsylvania is a period of jail not to exceed two years. The maximum fine is not to exceed $5,000.00