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New York Resisting Arrest Laws

You were walking down the street with a fresh six-pack of craft beer, minding your own business, when suddenly you see two police officers running toward you. They yell "freeze" and draw their weapons, but you're confused because you haven't so much as jaywalked in your life. One of the officers reads you your rights as you're cuffed and stuffed into the back of the cruiser. You are charged with armed robbery of the very liquor store where you bought your delicious brew 30 minutes prior, but you know you're innocent.

It feels wrong to be stuck in a holding cell for a crime you know you didn't commit, but the officers claim to have probable cause. With your attorney present, they ask questions and show you surveillance video of a man bearing an uncanny resemblance to you and even wearing the same clothes. The man in the video points a pistol at the cashier as he exits with a bag of cash.

You're eventually cleared after additional witnesses and evidence come to the officers' attention. Being arrested for a crime you didn't commit is no fun, but allowing the process to work itself out is absolutely the right thing to do.

What it Means to Resist Arrest

Let's say you ran away, hid behind a dumpster, or otherwise refused to cooperate with the arresting officers. Regardless of whether they have the right person, you are required by law to "freeze" when told to do so and to cooperate with the officer's orders. To do otherwise is to resist arrest, which is a crime in New York and elsewhere. There are some exceptions, however, including self-defense against an officer's use of excessive force.

New York Resisting Arrest Laws: The Basics

The chart below highlights some of the main aspects of New York laws addressing the crime of resisting arrest.


Penal Code Section 205.30

Resisting Arrest Definition

One resists arrest by intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a police officer or peace officer from effecting the authorized arrest of any person.

Crime Classifications and Penalties

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Up to 1 year in jail or up to 3 years probation; fine of up to $1,000 or twice the amount of the perpetrator's financial gain from the underlying crime.


  • Proof that you were not, in fact, resisting arrest
  • Resistance in self-defense against an officer's unreasonable use of force
  • The arrest itself was unlawful

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Get Professional Legal Help with Your New York Resisting Arrest Case

Unless you're acting in self defense against an officer's unreasonable use of force, it's always in your best interests to submit to any lawful arrest. Remember, you can always challenge the arrest and any charges in court. Before taking your next step, consider speaking with a New York criminal defense attorney, who will be able to review your legal options and represent your side of the story.

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