Resisting arrest in Ohio can be charged in one of three different ways: 2nd degree misdemeanor, 1st degree misdemeanor or 4th degree felony. The category of offense is fact-specific. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2921.33, a person can be charged with resisting arrest if one of the following occurs:
- The person, recklessly or by force, resists or interferes with a lawful arrest of the person or another (2nd degree misdemeanor).
- The person, recklessly or by force, resist or interferes with a lawful arrest of the person or another and, during the course of the resistance or interference, causes physical harm to the officer (1st degree misdemeanor).
- The person, recklessly or by force, resists or interferes with a lawful arrest of the person or another and either the offender recklessly causes physical harm to the officer by means of a deadly weapon or the offender brandishes a deadly weapon (4th degree felony).
The key phrase is “lawful arrest.” The police are not allowed to simply arrest you because they don’t like you or your attitude. According to Ohio courts, failing to pass the “attitude test” is not sufficient grounds for a lawful arrest. An officer wishing to charge a person with resisting arrest must prove the following in court:
- The officer was effecting a lawful arrest of the defendant;
- The defendant was informed of the fact that he was being arrested; and
- The defendant, being informed of the fact that he was being arrested, resisted either recklessly or by force hindering or interfering with the arrest.
For a charge of resisting arrest to be valid, the police must meet all of these requirements. Ohio cases have held that stating to the officer, “I won’t go with you” or “I’m not going anywhere” while attempting to walk away is not forcible resistance or interference with an arrest. See Warren v. Patrone. Other courts have held that when a person flees after a police demand that the person put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, resisting arrest did not occur. The original stop did not constitute a lawful arrest when the police failed to inform the person that he was being arrested. Running did not constitute resisting arrest absent an actual arrest. However, courts have consistently held that police officers are not required to state “you are under arrest” for the arrest to be a lawful arrest.
In addition to the person being charged with resisting arrest, a friend or bystander may also be charged with resisting arrest. Even with the best intentions, a person who interferes with the lawful arrest of another can result in the person being put in jail. The person interfering with the arrest has no more right to interfere than the person being arrested.
While resisting arrest is generally charged as a misdemeanor in Ohio, resisting arrest can be charged as a felony if the person brandishes a deadly weapon or causes harm to the officer with a deadly weapon. Thus, the level of offense that a person resisting arrest will be charged with is very fact-specific.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your criminal offense case.