Can you be charged and convicted of resisting arrest after you have been stopped for DUI?
Yes, you can.
Here is the statutory language as to resisting arrest in Pennsylvania:
“With the intent of preventing a public servant from effecting a lawful arrest or discharging any other duty, the person creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to the public servant or anyone else, or employs means justifying or requiring substantial force to overcome the resistance.”
That is the legal definition. Now here is how it actually is on the streets with the police. The majority of police officers do not have a lot of patience in DUI stops when it comes to taking you into custody. I know this because I watch a lot of police car videos and we get a lot of DUI cases where resisting arrest is also charged. Once police decide to arrest a driver, if the driver does not quickly turn around, put their arms behind your back, and let them cuff you right away they get very aggressive. That can lead a driver to flinch, asking why they are being treated that way. In normal conversations a person faces the person when they talk. So, in situations where the police officer acts aggressive, drivers tend to turn to face them to ask the officer what is going on. That turn really turns up the heat and then things go downhill quickly.
Now there are times when people do resist, try to run away, and sometimes try to strike the police officer. Obviously, that is not a smart thing to do and is most likely resisting arrest. But many times, when these charges are filed it is simply not complying right away and challenging the officer’s authority that results in resisting arrest. My associates and I love police car videos. They show what really happened and we are often able to get resisting arrest charges dismissed or plead to lesser offenses.
My best advice to people? The street is the police’s turf but the courtroom is ours. No matter how a police officer is acting, the best thing to do is be polite, cooperate and say nothing. If the police want to arrest you, comply with their request and then call us as soon as you can. It is not well known that resisting an illegal arrest can still be a crime. You will not win if you resist. However, if you are polite and comply, no matter how bad the police act or the situation is, you will fare much better. Let the lawyer deal with the police if they were rude or wrong.