Although you have the right to verbally object to being arrested, to do anything further could subject you to criminal penalties for resisting arrest. Resisting arrest is a common charge as many people are not happy about being arrested (understandably) and protest perhaps more than they should. In New York resisting arrest does not require that the person being arrested use force or violence, it is enough that she/he engage in some conduct with the intent of preventing the officer from effecting an authorized arrest of himself or another person.

[1] The circumstances that lead to a charge for resisting arrest could be as slight as simply failing to comply with police order, or as severe as physically making contact with the officer in an attempt to escape.

Resisting arrest is always accompanied by another charge because in order to be charged with resisting arrest you must have been under a lawful arrest for another crime/violation. If ultimately it turns out that the underlying arrest was made without probable cause, or was in any other way illegal, then the resisting arrest charge must be dismissed.

In New York resisting arrest (PL 205.30) is classified as an “A” misdemeanor. It is punishable by either one (1) year in jail or three (3) years of probation, and with a fine of $1,000.[2]

Resisting Arrest (PL 205.30) in Rochester

A person is guilty of resisting arrest when he intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer or peace officer from effecting an authorized arrest of himself or another person.


First and foremost it is never advisable to resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest to be unlawful. Ultimately resisting even an unlawful arrest will only make matters worse as it risks your safety as well as the officer’s safety. Furthermore, resisting arrest may negatively impact future negotiations with the District Attorney. Thus if you are arrested, and you believe your rights are being violated, the best thing you can do is to request to speak to an attorney immediately and say nothing more. In New York every individual has an “indelible right to counsel”, meaning that once you have been placed under arrest and you request an attorney, the police cannot continue to question you.

[1] People v. Stevenson, 31 N.Y.2d 108, 112 (1972) quoting Denzer and McQuillan, Practice Commentary to Penal Law § 205.30, McKinney’s Penal Law (1967).
[2] New York Penal Law Title E