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In Rhode Island, resisting arrest is defined as “the use of force or any weapon against an officer trying to take a suspect into custody.” The arrest does not have to be perceived as legal by the suspect for the charges to stick. Resisting arrest is usually considered a misdemeanor in the state, although there are factors that could escalate the crime to a felony in some situations.

The state of Rhode Island takes resisting arrest charges very seriously, with both fines and jail time possible. In addition, a conviction of resisting arrest can remain on your record for up to five years. Unfortunately, determining guilt in these situations is often a matter of your word against the arresting officer’s testimony. It is paramount to have an experienced legal team behind you as you deal with these charges, to ensure your rights are preserved and you receive the best possible outcome from your case.

Attorney Stephen Archambault and his team understand the anxiety that often accompanies an arrest and work with clients daily to help them navigate the legal process and produce a viable defense. He offers free case consultations to Rhode Island residents that have been charged with resisting arrest and will support you throughout your experience with the Rhode Island court system.

Factors that Determine Charges of Resisting Arrest

Three conditions must be present for resisting arrest charges to be considered legitimate. First, the person being arrested must have reasonable grounds to assume an arrest is taking place. Second, the suspect must use force or a weapon to thwart the arrest. Finally, the arrest must be performed by a peace officer in the state, which might include:

  • A Rhode Island state police office
  • A police officer from a municipality or county in the state
  • Officers that work in airports, or serve as fire marshals or conservation officers
  • An investigator or correctional officer
  • An officer within the sheriff’s department
  • College campus security personnel
  • Attorney general
  • A sergeant or a warden

The law in Rhode Island does not make a distinction between a legal and an illegal arrest. When the difference was challenged in court, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of the prosecution. Even if you believe the detention is not lawful, compliance is your best choice until you are able to contact an attorney and iron out the details of your case.

Penalties for Resisting Arrest

In most cases, resisting arrest is considered a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. If you are convicted, you could face fines of up to $500 and imprisonment of up to one year. If the use of a weapon or force results in bodily harm to the police officer, charges of assault and battery could be added to resisting arrest. They may also be upped to felony charges, depending on the precise circumstances of the case. Either of these scenarios could increase fines and jail time for the accused if convicted of the crimes.

Potential Defenses

While it may seem like resisting arrest charges are insurmountable for the defendant, there are some circumstances in which the charges could be reduced or even dismissed. For example, if you pull your arms away as the officer puts them behind your back, especially if the officer is overly rough in the process, this does not constitute force and should not be considered resisting arrest.

After Your Arrest in Rhode Island

Once you are arrested, additional steps may be scrutinized by your defense attorney to determine whether all your rights were properly protected during the process. If any of the steps were not followed according to the letter of the law, these factors could also be used in your defense.

If the police want to talk to you after you have been taken into custody, they will need to read you your Miranda rights first. Those rights include:

  • Right to remain silent
  • If you choose not to remain silent, what you say can be used against you in court
  • You may have an attorney with you during your questioning
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost to you

If you tell the officers involved in your case that you do not want to talk to them without your attorney present, they are required to stop questioning you immediately. You also have the right to a phone call to contact your attorney or arrange for bail.

Enlisting Qualified Legal Help

The complexities and challenges of a resisting arrest charge require the skilled oversight of an attorney experienced in handling these cases in Rhode Island. The team at Archambault Law will examine every detail and aspect of your case to ensure the best possible defense on your behalf. For a complimentary assessment of your case, contact Archambault Law today at 401-231-9700.

Ever been charged for resisting arrest? Contact Archambault Law Offices for our help.Contact Us Now