In this answer, Cicero writes:

Resisting arrest must be ancillary to some other charge. You cannot just be charged with "resisting arrest" unless you are actually being arrested on some other charge (or interfering with someone else being arrested).

Is that true?

Can somebody be successfully prosecuted for "resisting arrest" only, without also being prosecuted for some other crime?

(Cicero's answer is for MA and the question is focused on NY, but answers can address any jurisdiction and disclose the jurisdiction.)

  • LOL. Is this some kind of elaborate comment on my answer? The "answer" you have cited in the link below clearly states there must be a charge or grounds to arrest to begin with. It is true the person might not prosecuted under that charge, but it must exist. For a charge of resisting arrest to be valid, the arresting officer must have grounds to arrest the person in the first place and it says that in the link you make. If you go into court with a tendentious approach like this, the outcome will not be good.
    – Cicero
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:06
  • 1
    @Cicero Regardless of the fact that I am not yet able to add comments on your answer that I linked to (but please do feel free to add a cross-link), your assertion raised a genuine question, which I tried to ask here, and which seems to have value as a standalone question. If you have a good basis for your assertions, I'd really like to see it as an answer here; you may be a good person to answer this question because you seem confident in your answer. You could even include more citations than Dale M's answer which asserts the opposite.
    – Burned
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:09
  • @Cicero This is the expected format on Skeptics.SE, which I tried to follow in this question: Source and state a claim someone made, ask if it's true, restate the question in summary form as a one-line yes-or-no, and (for Law.SE) specify jurisdiction. Although asking about the truth value of an assertion necessarily implies skepticism and expressly disclaims the assumption that the assertion is true, I think this particular question is asked in a fairly straightforward manner, and the answers so far indicate that the skepticism of the quoted assertion as stated is justified.
    – Burned
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 3:49
  • @Cicero - Burned has a good point. Could you move your comment on his answer to the answer?
    – feetwet
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


According to Matthew Bohrer (Assistant State's Attorney, licensed in three jurisdictions) and others, the offense of resisting arrest can stand alone. Expert attorney Dwayne B. says the same thing here.


Resisting arrest can be a stand alone offense.

If a police officer decides to arrest you it is irrelevant if the arrest leads to charges or even if the officer had reasonable grounds to initiate the arrest. Once initiated, resisting arrest is its own offense.

  • 4
    This depends on the jurisdiction. In New York, the answer is different.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 22:18
  • @cpast I don't think that the arrest has to lead to charges in NYS, even if the arrest has to be supported by probable cause to make an arrest or an arrest warrant (i.e. to be an otherwise valid arrest) in NYS (and maybe even under constitutional law).
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 17:18
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    @ohwilleke IIRC, the NY difference was the "...or even if the officer had reasonable grounds to initiate the arrest" bit -- I think NY requires it be a legal arrest for resistance to be a crime (whereas some states do not, on the theory that it's better to sort out illegal arrests nonviolently in court).
    – cpast
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 23:32
  • can anyone cite law or case law on this point? Commented May 19, 2019 at 17:30

As someone who had his life destroyed by the police, they can make up anything, no matter how ridiculous to charge you with. Nothing will happen to the officer when it gets thrown out at preliminary. But resisting arrest is hard to defend against since it is your word vs theirs. Judges always believe a cop even after they've been caught lying on the stand.

  • This does not answer the original question. Commented May 19, 2019 at 17:29

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