Penalties for Resisting Arrest in DC

Although a misdemeanor charge, the penalties for resisting arrest can still be quite severe. Consequences for this charge can sometimes include hefty fines and potential jail time. Much of the penalty decisions are made by looking at the individual’s past criminal history, and how they went about resisting arrest on top of the charge they were being arrested for. Since many factors are in play, it is pertinent to contact a lawyer immediately. Facing a resisting arrest charge in DC on your own can be both overwhelming and intimidating. An experienced lawyer can assist in minimizing any penalties associated with your charge.

Potential Penalties

The potential penalties for resisting arrest in DC are up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. If an individual is convicted of resisting arrest, it is not guaranteed that they will be sentenced to these maximum penalties, but legally, a judge can use their discretion. If a judge sentences an individual to anything beyond six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, that would be considered an illegal sentence. Other lesser penalties an individual could receive, depending on the circumstances, could be less jail time, a lower fine, or supervised probation.

Resisting arrest in DC is only considered a misdemeanor offense. Therefore, the charge itself always stays the same. However, it is possible that the prosecutor in the case will look at the facts and base their plea offer on how egregious a person’s actions were in resisting arrest. Similarly, a judge will consider the facts of the case for sentencing purposes if an individual is convicted of resisting arrest, and fashion an appropriate sentence based on what happened during the incident.

Determining Factors

Penalties for resisting arrest in DC can differ on a case-by-case basis. The decision will depend on a person’s prior criminal history and the circumstances of what happened during the alleged resisting. For example, a person who has no criminal history and resisted arrest briefly by initially refusing to be handcuffed will most likely be offered a plea agreement by prosecutors that involves probation rather than jail.

On the other hand, a person who has a record with law enforcement and who physically struggled with police as they were trying to make an arrest will more likely be offered a plea agreement that involves jail. Similarly, if a person is convicted of resisting either because they pleaded guilty or was found guilty at trial, a judge will look at the circumstances of the case as well as the person’s prior criminal history and determine a sentence accordingly.

Possibility of Probation

It is possible to receive a probation sentence instead of jail time or a fine. If an individual is convicted of resisting arrest in DC, the judge will look at several factors, including criminal history, to determine if probation is appropriate.

A person who has no history of any criminal activity would be more likely to be sentenced to probation than a person who has prior convictions or a lengthy criminal history. A judge will also look at the person’s behavior since the time of arrest. For example, if a person was released from jail after being arrested, they most likely will be under the supervision of the pre-trial services agency in DC. If the person has been compliant with pre-trial services and has not been arrested for any new charges, a judge may consider this to be an indication that the person is a good candidate for probation. If the person had not been compliant, the judge may consider them to be resistant to supervision and, therefore, not a strong candidate for probation.

Community Service

A community service sentence is a similar situation as a probation sentence. In determining a person’s penalty for resisting arrest in DC, a judge will look at the facts and circumstances of the case to determine if jail is appropriate. If a judge does not believe that jail is appropriate, they would most likely sentence the person to probation.

If a person is sentenced to probation, there will usually be conditions that a person has to complete while being supervised. Community service is one type of condition that a judge may include as part of a probationary sentence. A judge can impose as many hours as they think is appropriate. While on probation, the person would have a probation officer who would verify completion of their community service hours.

Benefits of an Attorney

An attorney will first familiarize themselves with the facts of your case, which will come through conversations with you, independent investigations of the incident, and the reports from the government. That will put your attorney in the best position to meaningfully negotiate with the prosecutor who is handling your case. Negotiating a resisting arrest charge in DC could lessen the penalties, or in some cases, even dismiss the charge. If negotiating is not successful, this preparation by your attorney will put you in the best position to defend your case if it goes to trial.