Right To Resist Unlawful Arrest in Indiana

Resisting arrest is considered a criminal offense in the state of Indiana. However, all individuals have specific civil rights and liberties. It may surprise you to learn that if police are engaging in any type of misconduct, you have the right to resist unlawful arrest. That does not mean that law enforcement officials will support your claims of police misconduct.

It may be in your best interests to comply with the responding officer’s demands, particularly if you are being taken into custody or arrested. Unless your life is in jeopardy or you are at risk of severe bodily injury, it may be better to handle police misconduct claims after the fact, even though you do have the right to resist unlawful arrest in Indiana.

Resisting Arrest Laws in Indiana

According to Indiana Code 35-44.1-3-1, you could be charged with resisting law enforcement if you intentionally and knowingly:

  • Interfere with law enforcement officers while police are engaging in lawful duties
  • Forcibly resist law enforcement officers while police are engaging in lawful duties
  • Flee from police after law enforcement officials have ordered you to stop
  • Interfere with the execution of a court order
  • Forcibly resist the execution of a court order

What Are the Penalties For Resisting Arrest in Indiana?

Your penalties will depend on the level of the charges against you. If you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor resisting arrest offense, you might spend up to one year in prison and pay fines up to $5,000. However, you could be ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines and spend up to 30 years in prison if you are convicted of a Level 2 felony for resisting arrest.

Other Criminal Charges Related to Resisting Arrest

There are other criminal charges you could face that relate to resisting arrest. Prosecutors may stack criminal charges in the hopes of securing a harsher sentence.

Refusal to Aid an Officer

Refusing to aid a police officer is considered a Class B misdemeanor under Indiana Code 35-44.1-3-3. Here, you could spend up to 180 days in a county jail and pay fines of up to $1,000. If your charges are prosecuted as a Class C misdemeanor, fines will be reduced to $500, and you could spend a maximum of 60 days in jail.

Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer

Disarming a police officer is often tried as a felony offense under Indiana Code 35-44.1-3-2. The level of the charges against you will depend on how seriously the law enforcement officer is injured. If the police officer is killed, you will likely be prosecuted for a Level 1 felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison and pay fines of up to $10,000.

You Have the Right to Resist Unlawful Arrest, But Should You Assert These Rights?

You have every right to resist unlawful arrest if the responding officers are engaging in misconduct that may cause severe bodily injury or death. However, doing so could result in additional criminal charges, which could be challenging to defend against at trial.

For this reason, it may not always be well advised to assert your right to resist unlawful arrest. Instead, comply with the law enforcement official’s requests. Then, once you are released on bail, look into potential opportunities to ensure police misconduct does not go unanswered.