Michigan Resisting Arrest Charge Can be Felony OR Misdemeanor

I have written at length on this elsewhere, but as I read articles online, it is clear to me that many people, including lawyers, appear to have it wrong; I keep reading "Michigan Resisting Arrest is a Felony," and "you may face Prison time for a Michigan Resisting Arrest charge." [click this link to learn the reality of a Michigan Resisting Arrest Sentence.]

What these people are saying is only partially true. I want to be very clear: Michigan Resisting Arrest can be charged either as a Felony (up to 2 years in Prison) OR as a Misdemeanor (up to 93 days, 180 days, or 1 year in County Jail, depending on local Ordinance).

RELATED: visit our main page for the crime of Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer (R&O)...

To begin to understand, we must look at Resisting Arrest as a group of crimes, not just a single crime. The Michigan Resisting Arrest laws are contained in both the State Penal Code as well as in local City, Township, and Village Ordinances. The Michigan Penal Code actually has 2 Resisting Arrest laws: MCL 750.81d and MCL 750.479 (the older version, often referred to as "Resisting and Opposing a Police Officer," which Defendant's are rarely charged under these days).

Both of these Michigan Resisting Arrest charges carry up to 2 years in Prison for a conviction where no injury or death to an Officer is alleged. The newer State Resisting Arrest law, MCL 750.81d, includes a range of conduct, including: Assaulting, Battering, Wounding, Resisting, Obstructing, Opposing, or Endangering a Police Officer. This is why Michigan Resisting Arrest charges are known by many different names, including: R and O, Resisting Arrest, Resisting and Obstructing a Police Officer,Resisting a Police Officer, Assault on a Police Officer, Assaulting a Police Officer, and others. They all fall under the same Michigan Resisting Arrest 2 year Felony.

Further, Obstructing a Police Officer includes "knowing failure to comply with a lawful command." If you are charged under State law, the charge is most commonly called just "Resisting and Obstructing," or "R and O." But these State statutes in the Penal Code are not the only Michigan Resisting Arrest laws...

Additionally, every City, Township, and Village has the authority, through its governing body (i.e. City Council), to enact a Code of Ordinances, which usually includes a chapter containing Criminal Offenses. These "Ordinance Violations" usually contain a Michigan Resisting Arrest offense. These are treated just like any other Criminal case, however, they can ONLY be Misdemeanors, and the maximum penalty is different for each City, but cannot exceed 1 year because these local municipalities can only enact Misdemeanors and not Felonies. These local Michigan Resisting Arrest charges are often simply called "Resisting Arrest."

If you are facing a Michigan Resisting Arrest crime, look at your paperwork to see if the case caption says "State of Michigan v. [You]" or City/Township/Village of _______ v. [You]. However, I don't recommend placing all your trust in these Court documents because the Clerks often make errors. The only reliable ways to determine whether your Michigan Resisting Arrest charge is a Felony or Misdemeanor is to search the Court file for a document called the "Complaint," or to figure out who the Prosecuting Attorney assigned to your case is.

Still reading this article? Why not speak to a knowledgeable Michigan Resisting and Obstructing Lawyer instead, because making the right choice can save your freedom and future. Call Prain Law, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543. Don’t wait – the faster you act, the better your chances! You can also fill-out the Contact Form.


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.