Pennsylvania Resisting Arrest Laws

A cooperative relationship between the police and citizenry is beneficial to all of society. However, there are times when uneasy encounters take place between the police and the very people that they’re meant to protect. Real world examples of police misconduct have helped to create a stigma around police officers’ actions, especially during arrests.

An officer’s main priority should always be to protect and serve the community and they must follow specific procedures when making arrests. As the members of the group that they serve, citizens must also follow certain procedures; the law requires you to comply with what the officers require of you, ensuring that law enforcement officers can do their job. In general, if you actively interfere with an arrest, you can be charged with violating resisting arrest laws.

The laws that define what constitutes resisting arrest vary from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you cannot intentionally prevent public servants from lawfully arresting you, or otherwise interfere with their duties. Additionally, you cannot create a substantial risk of injury to the officer or use means that would require substantial force to stop the resistance.

Lawful Arrest

The underlying arrest that is the subject of the resisting arrest charge must be a lawful arrest under Pennsylvania laws. This means that there had to be probable cause or a valid reason to make the arrest in the first place. If not, you can defend yourself on this basis.


When you violate Pennsylvania’s resisting arrest laws, you commit a second degree misdemeanor. A misdemeanor in the second degree carries a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and fines up to $5000.

Questions about Pennsylvania Resisting Arrest Laws? Contact Atty. Munley directly at 570-420-0620 or ask him a question by using the form below.