To resist arrest means to take steps to evade arrest or to act using force in order to repel and frustrate the arrest. When a warrant for arrest has been lawfully issued and the police implement the warrant in a lawful manner, all resistance to the arrest will be considered unlawful. The resistance to a lawful arrest will still be considered a crime even if the accused is subsequently acquitted of the crime for which was being arrested in the first place.
When a court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a suspect in relation to a criminal charge or indictment that has been filed by him, the police have the duty to serve this warrant for arrest and take actual physical custody of the accused named in the warrant. The law also empowers the police to use reasonable force to ensure that the person being arrested is actually taken into physical custody.
This power to use reasonable force is necessary as there will be some people who will resist an arrest. What exactly does it mean to ‘resist’ an arrest? It clearly means acting in such a way as to evade arrest such as running away from the police officer or speeding off in a car. It can also mean using force to repel the effort of the police to place the accused into physical custody by assaulting the police officer. It can also mean chaining oneself to an immovable object so that the police officer cannot take the accused bodily before the court.
Resisting arrest is a crime. It is a crime because an arrest is a lawful order from the court which the police are merely implementing. When all the legal requirements for the issuance of a warrant for arrest have been complied with, then the implementation of that order of the court to effect the arrest of the accused will also be lawful, even if the police uses necessary force to implement the arrest.
There are times when an accused resists arrest in the belief that his arrest is unlawful or improper. Sometimes, an accused will evade and resist arrest because he believes himself innocent of the criminal charges brought against him. Just the same, when the warrant was lawfully issued and it was lawfully implemented by the police, the subsequent acquittal of the accused will not render his arrest unlawful. Thus, any resistance to the arrest would still be unlawful.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.