The criminal offense of resisting arrest—also known as resisting a peace officer—occurs when a person uses any amount of physical force to resist, delay, or obstruct a police officer during an arrest. The resistance that gives rise to a criminal offense may be slight and includes (1) struggling with police officers as they try to place handcuffs on a person and (2) giving police a false name during questioning.
Resisting arrest laws vary from state to state—in California, for example, the law includes delaying or obstructing an emergency medical technician. Resisting arrest is usually a misdemeanor offense. Resisting arrest laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.