There are many instances when police will arrest people for what is commonly known as “resisting arrest,” but is charged in Indiana as “resisting law enforcement.” Generally, arrests on this basis are made when police are called to a gathering of people, be it public or private, and they instruct someone at that gathering to leave. If there is a refusal by that person, or any type of physical resistance, an arrest may be warranted.
Such an arrest can be for any conduct that runs interference with a police officer’s “stated” intention. Such an intention, no matter what it may be, can be communicated by simply turning his or her siren on, making a verbal command, or flashing lights. And if the officer assesses a citizen’s action (such as pulling in front of his or her patrol car that is trying to pass) or inaction (such as not pulling over when pulled behind) as interfering with the performance of his duties, the officer may elect to make an arrest.
Resisting law enforcement is also the appropriate charge when a person actively flees from the police. A person who attempts to run away from the police on foot can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, while a person using a vehicle to escape can be charged with a Level 6 Felony. Depending on how quickly the vehicle was travelling, the law may require a mandatory 30 days in jail after conviction.
Because the definition of “resisting law enforcement” is very broad in the Indiana statute, police have wide latitude to make arrests on this basis. There are a number of circumstances in which they may use it, and the facts surrounding the arrest may not match the actual boundaries of the resisting law enforcement statute.
A proper examination of the facts in your case will help to determine whether your conduct legally rises to the level of criminal activity. If you have been accused of resisting law enforcement, contact me immediately to discuss your case and any defenses available to you.