Resisting Arrest Law and Legal Definition

In general, a person may not use physical force to resist a lawful arrest by a police officer who is known or reasonably appears to be a peace officer. Resisting an arrest is a misdemeanor. Resisting arrest typically involves an arrestee physically struggling with an officer as he tries to place on handcuffs, or when the arrestee struggles as he is being placed in a patrol car or jail cell.

A common defense to resisting arrest is that the officer acted with excessive force. While an arrestee is expected to comply with an officer's reasonable actions to affect an arrest, the arrestee is allowed to defend himself from unreasonable, excessive force used by the officer.