Resisting Arrest in Wyoming
February 28th, 2023
When people hear “resisting arrest,” many think of a high-speed chase or someone who fights with the police and physically refuses to comply. But in Wyoming, the crime of resisting arrest is much broader than that and can encompass almost any actions you take to oppose a police officer’s instructions.
Under Wyoming law, resisting arrest occurs when a person “knowingly obstructs, impedes or interferes with or resists arrest by a peace officer while engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties.”
Under this definition, “resisting” can include physical and non-physical actions, such as:
- Failing to comply with an officer’s request
- Refusing to accept a traffic ticket
- Providing false information
- Moving out of the way
- Raising your hands to defend yourself
- Acting in an abusive manner
- Fleeing the scene
- Taking any action that slows a police officer down or makes it more difficult for them to do their job
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Wyoming
Wyoming prosecutors take cases of resisting arrest seriously and pursue them aggressively, especially if a police officer was injured or killed.
Penalties for resisting arrest are severe and can include up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
A person who “intentionally and knowingly disarms a peace officer of his firearm while that peace officer is engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties” is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
A person who “intentionally and knowingly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to a peace officer engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties” is guilty of a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
What To Do If You Have Been Charged with Resisting Arrest
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Wyoming, first, remember your rights.
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to refuse consent to a search of your person, your car, or your home.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave.
- You have the right to a lawyer once you have been placed under arrest.
Politely and calmly explain that you are asserting your right to remain silent and ask to speak with a lawyer. Then contact the criminal defense team at Just Criminal Law.
Defending Against Charges of Resisting Arrest
To prove a charge of resisting arrest, the prosecutor must prove:
- The officer was lawfully performing his duties;
- The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the person he was resisting was a police officer; and
- The defendant willfully resisted, delayed, or obstructed the officer.
To challenge the charge of resisting arrest, our criminal defense team will evaluate whether:
- The arrest was lawful;
- The defendant knew or should have known that the person he was resisting was a police officer; or
- The defendant was acting in self-defense
Common defenses to charges of resisting arrest are:
- Self-defense. Police officers are allowed to use as much force as is necessary to accomplish their lawful objective. If a police officer believes you are resisting, he will claim he was justified in using more force. But if your criminal defense lawyer can show that the police officer was not justified in his use of force, you can successfully argue that you were defending yourself. But beware—as the person being placed under arrest, you can only use an amount of force that is necessary under the circumstances.
- Unlawful arrest. Your criminal defense lawyer can also argue that the arrest itself was unlawful. If the arrest was not supported by probable cause or was made without a warrant, your lawyer might be able to have the charges against you dismissed on the basis that the police were not justified in placing you under arrest.
Just Criminal Law Fights to Protect Your One Shot at Justice
Charges of resisting arrest are serious. At Just Criminal Law, our team will aggressively defend you and protect your rights. Led by our founding attorney and former prosecutor Christina L. Williams, our experienced team of criminal defense professionals will do everything we can to protect your one shot at justice.
If you were charged with resisting arrest in Wyoming or South Dakota, we invite you to learn why people choose us and to contact us today to schedule your personalized case review and strategy session.
Just Criminal Law is based in Gillette, Wyoming, and proudly serves people in eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.
Categories: Criminal Charges - General Questions