If you’re like many people, you’ve heard the term resisting arrest – but what does it mean, and what kinds of actions count under Wisconsin law? This guide explains resisting arrest in Wisconsin, the types of penalties the judge can impose on you if you’re convicted of this charge, and when it’s okay to walk away from a police officer.
What Counts as Resisting Arrest in Wisconsin?
Under Wisconsin law, “whoever knowingly resists or obstructs an officer while such officer is doing any act in an official capacity and with lawful authority is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.” The law continues to say that if you cause substantial bodily harm or a soft tissue injury to an officer, it becomes a Class H felony. Additionally, it becomes a Class G felony if you cause great bodily harm to an officer.
Using physical force to fight your way out of an arrest is generally accepted as a form of resisting. If you pull your hands away from an officer who’s trying to handcuff you, run away, push a police officer or use any other form of physical resistance (including making your body limp to make things more difficult for the police) to try to avoid being arrested, the state can charge you with this crime.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest
If you’re convicted of obstructing an officer or resisting arrest, the penalties depend on whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, based on the circumstances of the crime. The following table outlines the possible penalties for each.
|Resisting arrest as a Class A misdemeanor||Up to 9 months in jail; fines of up to $10,000|
|Resisting arrest as a Class H felony||Up to 3 years in prison with 3 years of extended supervision; fines of up to $10,000|
|Resisting arrest as a Class G felony||Up to 5 years in prison with 5 years of extended supervision; fines of up to $25,000|
Can You Fight Resisting Arrest Charges?
It is possible to fight back against resisting arrest charges. In some cases, attorneys are able to prove that the police unnecessarily escalated your situation, that you were defending yourself against excessive force, that you were unaware that the arresting officer was actually a law enforcement officer, or that you did not intend to resist arrest. In rare cases, attorneys can show that the police attempted to charge you with resisting arrest because you were simply arguing or criticizing them.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Resisting Arrest Charges?
If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, with or without other charges, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation and get answers to your questions now.