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Ohio Resisting Arrest Laws

No wants to be arrested; it's an experience best avoided, if possible. However, a bad experience can become even worse if you're arrested and you take any action to resist as this could lead to additional charges. Just as police officers are bound to comply with specific procedures while making an arrest, citizens also have rules to follow. If not, an arrest for a simple misdemeanor could quickly escalate into something much more serious. Although state laws differ as to the specifics of resisting arrest, in general it's advisable to follow the officer's requests in a calm and polite manner. This approach can keep you safe and help you to avoid a charge of resisting arrest.

Lawful Arrest

To be in violation of Ohio's resisting arrest laws, you must recklessly or forcibly resist or interfere with your own lawful arrest or the arrest of another person. An operative word is "lawful' because you may be able defend against this charge if your underlying arrest was not valid.

Ohio Resisting Arrest Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of laws related to Ohio's resisting arrest laws, including links to important code sections.


Penalties and Sentencing

The charges and the penalties depend on the specific circumstances in your case.

Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest Charges

  • When you recklessly or by force, resist or interfere with your lawful arrest or the arrest of another, it's considered a misdemeanor in the second degree.
  • A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $750.
  • When you recklessly or by force, resist or interfere with your own lawful arrest or the arrest of another and during the resistance/interference, you cause harm to the arresting officer, you have committed a misdemeanor in the first degree.
  • A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines not to exceed $1,000.

Felony Resisting Arrest Charges

  • When you recklessly cause physical harm to the officer via a deadly weapon, or if you merely possess the deadly weapon and the officer is not harmed, the resisting arrest charge is elevated to a felony in the fourth degree.
  • A fourth degree felony penalty is a 6- 18 month prison term and fines up to $5,000.

Possible Defenses

  • Unlawful arrest
  • Self defense
  • Police misconduct
  • Officer did not identify himself/herself
  • The person involved was not a "law enforcement officer" (i.e. private security guards)

Related Offense

  • Failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer: Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.331

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.

Ohio Resisting Arrest Laws: Related Resources

Talk to an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

If you've been accused of violating Ohio's resisting arrest laws, then you may be dealing with possible incarceration and fines. With so much on the line, you should consider talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Find an Ohio attorney near you to help you take the next steps.

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