If you’ve been charged with Resisting Arrest or Refusal to Submit to Arrest in Fayetteville or Fort Smith, or anywhere in NWA/the River Valley, stop reading this and call our criminal defense attorneys immediately: (479) 782-1125
Resisting Arrest and Refusal to Submit to Arrest (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-54-103)
Resisting Arrest in Arkansas is a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,500). Realistically, unless you go to a jury trial you won’t be facing a year in jail. However, judges and prosecutors in Washington County will almost always seek significant jail time (at least 30 days) for resisting arrest. There is one significant defense, that is that you were merely defending against excessive use of force. Other than that, the best you can hope for is that you didn’t resist arrest (with video proof) or try to get it reduced to the lesser included “Refusal to Submit to Arrest.”
Refusal to Submit to Arrest in Arkansas is a class B misdemeanor, which means it can carry up to 90 days and a $1,000 fine, but in reality it could carry no days in jail or only a scant amount.
Let’s break down the most recent Arkansas jury instructions on Resisting Arrest:
The defendant is charged with the offense of resisting arrest. To sustain this charge the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he:
1) knowingly used or threatened to use physical force or any other means
2) that created a substantial risk of physical injury to any person in resisting
3) a person known by him to be a law enforcement officer
4) making an arrest.
5) It is no defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the law enforcement officer lacked legal authority to make the arrest if the law enforcement officer was acting under color of his or her official authority.
6) Unless the defendant used force to defend himself against excessive force used in making the arrest.
If you were to just look at the statute, you would never realize that in Carter & Thompson v. State, 9 Ark. App. 206, 657 S.W.2d 213 (1983) the courts recognized a defense not explicitly set out in the justification statutes where the defendant contends that he used force to defend himself against excessive force used in making the arrest.
Refusal to Submit to Arrest:
It is possible to get a jury, a judge, or a prosecutor to reduce the charges to this lesser offense, which looks better on your record and carries a much lighter sentence. Here is what it takes to be convicted of refusal to submit:
1) a person commits the offense of refusal to submit to arrest if he or she knowingly refuses to submit to arrest,
2) by a person known by him or her to be a law enforcement officer effecting an arrest.
3) used in this subsection, “refuses” means active or passive refusal.
4) It is no defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the law enforcement officer lacked legal authority to make the the arrest if the law enforcement officer was acting under color of his or her official authority.
“Law enforcement officer” means any public servant vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for offenses.
“Physical force” means any [bodily impact] [or] [restraint] [or] [confinement] [or] [the threat of (bodily impact) (or) (restraint) (or) (confinement)].
Physical injury means the impairment of physical condition or the infliction of substantial pain or the infliction of substantial bruising, swelling or visible marks associated with physical trauma.
“Knowingly.”–A person acts knowingly with respect to his conduct when he is aware the conduct is of that nature.
AMCI 2d 5402 RESISTING ARREST. http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcrimji/